THE BALLOON Source for information on The Balloon by Donald Barthelme, Reference Guide to Short Fiction dictionary. Complete summary of Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Balloon. Dive deep into Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.

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A memorable postmodern, metafictional snapper straight from the outrageous imagination of Donald Barthelme. Each is another level of metaphor, a description of experience, clarifying the one before.

I love the delicacy and lyricism of Barthele Balloona story with such a special beauty it deserves a review on its own. The balloon can also be seen as both literally and figuratively removed from life; it is a balloon both as metaphor and as concrete or imagined reality. The fiction of Donald Barthelme required a major readjustment for readers who came to it accustomed to the leisurely linear story line of the traditional novel or the conventional short story.

The Balloon by Donald Barthelme

Words, he seems to conclude, are our only connection with the inner and outer worlds, but they are seductive in making us believe we can traverse the gap between question and knowledge. Patrick’s Day 1 St. The Genesis of a Cool Soundpublished in He provides in the totality of the story the form of meaning—and we proceed to read the words as we ordinarily proceed to apprehend reality. Others—and every response is dependent upon one’s basic, innate temperament—are timid or hostile; they are frustrated by the balloon.

Also I just really love the balloon as a choice of metaphor or I suppose this could be seen as a literal art piece within a piece of fiction as wellit just brings such, sorry for repeating myself, soft whimsy to something that could otherwise be made into something complicated and dense.


Such a state—a state of the unknowable, the unclassifiable, the mysterious—evokes a variety of responses.

The balloon is an extended metaphor for the Barthelme story itself, to which people try to find some means of access and which creates varied critical responses and opinions. Subjects Discussed on Reading the Short Story.

How would I react if it was to happen to me?

Robert Coover’s “The Brother”. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

On close reading and rereading barhelme most of Barthelme’s fictions demandit becomes clear that from the beginning the balloon—like one’s story, or one’s words, or one’s comprehension of life—has been controlled by the speaker. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Oct 09, Michelle rated it liked it. Henry Award Part 2 1 O. And, also, can be located via a Google search.

Alice Herondale rated it liked it Feb 06, Barthelme has noted that if photography forced painters to reinvent painting, then films have forced fiction writers to reinvent fiction. It was agreed that since the meaning of the balloon could never be known absolutely, extended discussion was pointless, or at least less purposeful than the activities of those who, for example, donaldd green and blue paper lanterns from the warm gray underside, in certain streets, or seized the occasion to write messages on the surface, announcing their availability for the performance of unnatural acts, or the availability of acquaintances.

Books by Hhe Barthelme. Abigail Perschall rated it it was amazing Nov 08, Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Also, his collection, Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Dlnald.

I liked it o And yet the deeper irony is that the story ultimately does mean something. Tje you for continuing to read essays in my archives. Newer Post Older Post Home. Best American Short Stories Some people find it fascinating and argue about its meaning. I found this adorable, although I do get frustrated when people have conceptions of art that are different to mine, and this is one of those times.


Finally the balloon, like the story, like all words, and like life, expands and connects, and in its state of infinite movement it elicits or means as many things as one can attribute to it.

Rather than presenting itself “as if” it were real-a mimetic mirroring of external reality-postmodernist fiction makes its own artistic conventions and devices the subject of the story as well as its theme.

Reading Alice Munro’s “Family Furnishings”.

The Balloon

The primary effect of this mode of thought on contemporary fiction is that the story has a tendency to loosen its illusion of reality to explore the reality of its illusion. No trivia or quizzes yet. Evan A rated it really liked it Jul 12, Short Story Month Rather, he wishes to present modern men and women as the products of the media and the language that surround them.

Fictional self-consciousness in the short story does not allow the reader to maintain the comfortable assumption that what is depicted is real; instead, the reader is made uncomfortably aware that the only reality is the process of depiction itself–the language act of the fiction-making process.

Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War inarriving in Korea on July 27, the very day the cease-fire ending the war was signed. Furthermore, he is not so much interested in art that serves merely to reflect or imitate the world outside itself as he is concerned to create art works which are interesting in and for themselves.