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English - ms. sue

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Ms. Sue, my sister write out story here it is.

On Monday she looked in her mailbox, although she had no reason to expect a letter so soon. But there it was, a small, square car. She held it in her two hands, testing its weight.

It was an invitation to an exhibition of drawings at a private gallery. The name of the artist was only faintly familiar to her, and she couldn’t decide if she’d ever seen his work or not. She tried to imagine what kind of drawings she was being invited to view—would they be primitive or abstract or what was sometimes called “magic realism"? She summoned these categories to mind and then decided it didn’t matter. What mattered was that she had been invited.

The invitation pleased her, though she wasn’t such a fool as to think she’d been specifically singled out
because of her aesthetic sensitivity or because of her knowledge of modern graphics or even because of the pleasure of her company. The address on the card had been typed; her name, in fact, was misspelled, the last two letters transposed. Somewhere, no doubt, she’d
turned up on a mailing list—that was all.

She would wear a certain printed velvet skirt she had and with it a black turtleneck sweater. No one
would expect her to buy a drawing or even to comment on the exhibition. It was necessary only to accept a
glass of wine and a cube of orange cheese and stand for a minute or two in front of each drawing, nodding comprehendingly and perhaps murmuring something properly neutral into the air such as “nicely detailed” or “wonderful sense of space.” There was a good chance no one would even speak to her, but it would be better than spending Saturday evening in her new apartment, sitting in an armchair with a book and feeling lonliness drink her drop by drop.

The previous tenant had left behind a single item, which was a paperback copy of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, a book that, oddly enough, she had always intended to read. She couldn’t help feeling there had been something to deliberate-and something imperative, too-about this abandoned book, as thogh it had been specifically intended for her and that she was being enjoined to take it seriously. But how much better it would be to be going out; how much easier it would be to say, should anyone ask, that on Saturday evening she would be attending an opening of an interesting new exhibition.

On Tuesday she was again taken by surprise, for in her mailbox there was another invitation, this time for a cocktail party given by a distant friend of a friend, someone she had never met but whose name she dimly remembered having heard. It was a disappointment that the party was being held on the same night as the gallery opening and that, furthermore, it was at the same hour. For a minute she entertained the possibility of attending both functions, galloping breathlessly from one to the other. But no, it was not feasible; the two parties were at opposite ends of the city. It was a great pity, she felt, since invitations are few and far between when one moves to a new address. She would have to make a choice.

Of course she would choose the cocktail party. The gallery opening, now that she stopped to think about it, was no more than a commercial venture, an enticement
to buyers and patrons. It would be fraudulent of her to attend when she’d no intention of buying a picture, and
besides, she was drawn to cocktail parties. She was attracted, in fact, to parties of all kinds, seeing them as
an opportunity to possess, for a few hours at least, a life that was denser, more concentrated and more vigorous
than the usual spun-out wastes of time that had to be scratched endlessly for substance. She could still wear her certain velvet skirt, but with a pretty red satin blouse she’d recently acquired.

On Wednesday, strangely, she received .a third invitation—and it, too, was for Saturday evening. This time the invitation was handwritten, a rather charming note which she read through quickly three times. She was being invited to a small buffet supper. There would be only a dozen or so guests, it was explained. The author of a new biography would be there, and so would the subject of the biography who was, by chance, also a biographer. A particular balding computer scientist would be in attendance along with his wife, who was celebrated for her anti-nuclear stance and for her involvement in Navajo rugs. There would be a professor of history and also a professor of histology, as well as a person renowned for his love of Black Forest cakes and cheese pastries. There would be a famous character actor whose face was familiar, if not his name, and also the hairdresser who’d invented the Gidget cut and raised razor cuts to their present haute status.

Of course she could not say no. How much more congenial to go to a supper party than to peer at violent works of art and mutter, “Interesting, interesting,” and how much more rewarding than standing about with a drink and a salty canape and trying to make conversation with a room full of strangers. Her green silk dress would be suitable, if not precisely perfect, and she could gamble safely enough on the fact that no one would have seen it before.

Thursday’s mail brought still another invitation, also unfortunately for Saturday evening. She smiled, remembered how her mother used to say, “It never rains but pours” The invitation, which was for a formal dinner party, was printed on fine paper, and there was a handwritten note at the bottom. “We do hope you can make it,” the note said. “Of course we know you by reputation and we’ve been looking forward to meeting you for years.”

It had been some time since she’d attended a formal dinner party, and she was flattered to be sent an invitation with a handwritten note at the bottom. It pleased her to imagine a large, vaulted dining room and a parade of courses elegantly served, each with a different wine. The gleam of light through cut glass would sparkle on polished linen and on the faces of the luminaries gathered around the table. Her green silk, with perhaps the double strand of pearls, would be festive enough, but at the same time subdued and formal.

She wasn’t entirely surprised to look into her mailbox on Friday and see that she’d been sent yet another invitation. The paper was a heavy, creamy stock and came enclosed in a thick double envelope. There was to be a reception—a gala it was called—at the top of a large downtown hotel on Saturday evening. The guest of honor, she read, was to be herself.

She felt a lurch of happiness. Such an honour! But a moment later her euphoria gave way to panic, and when she sat down to collect herself, she discovered she was trembling not with excitement but with fear. On Saturday she surveyed the five invitations which were arranged in a circle on her coffee table. These missives, so richly welcoming, persuading, and honoring had pleased her at first, then puzzled her. And now she felt for the first time directly threatened. Something or someone was conspiring to consume a portions of her life, of herself, in fact-entering her apartment and taking possession of her Saturday evening just as a thief might enter and carry off her stereo equipment or her lovely double rope of earls or a deep slice of her dorsal flesh. She decided to stay home instead with a cup of coffee and her adventitiously acquired copy of Mansfield Park. Already it was dark, and she switched on the small reading lamp by her chair. The shade of the lamp was made of a pale, ivory-yellow material, and the light that shone through it had the warm quality of very old gold.

It happened that some people passing her window on their way to various parties and public gatherings that night were moved to see her, a woman sitting calmly in an arc of lamplight, turning over-one by one-the soft pages of a thick book. Clearly she was lost in what she was reading, for she never once glanced up. Her look of solitary containment and the oblique angle with which the light struck the left side of her face made her seem piercingly lovely. One of her hands, curved like a comma, lay on her lap; the other, slowly, thoughtfully, turned over the pages.

Those who passed by and saw her were seized by a twist of pain, which was really a kind of nostalgia for their childhood and for a simplified time when they, too, had been bonded to the books they read and to certain golden rooms which they remembered as being complete and as perfect as stage settings. They felt resentment, too, at the cold rain and the buffeting wind and the price of taxis and the hostility of their hosts. They felt embarrassed by their own small, proffered utterances and by the expanded social rubric they had come to inhabit.

As they moved to and fro in large, brightly-lit rooms, so high up in glittering towers that they felt they were clinging to the sides of cliffs, their feet began to ache and exhaustion overcame them. Soon it was past midnight, no longer the same day, but the next and the next. New widths of time clamored to be filled, though something it seemed, some image of the possibility, begged to be remembered.
Outside, the wind blew and blew. The sky slipped sideways, turning first yellow, then a mournful, treasonous purple, as though time itself was drowning in a waterfall of shame.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    sorry ms. sue that other word not appear, it be in messed up letters, but it supposed to be c o c k t a i l parties

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    Thanks to your sister for typing this. Yes, I know the reference was to c o c k t a i l parties. :-)

    This was your question.

    "Expain the result of the author’s shift from a limited omniscient point of view or outlook 2 one that might be termed as “expanded omniscience.” In what manner is the continuity of the story affected by the change?

    i not get this."

    This shift in the author's point of view causes the reader to back off and look at the woman from the outside. The mood went from one of joy to mystery about the 5 invitations to despair. Yet, the woman seemed to be enjoying herself in her solitude.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    i don't get what limited omniscient means that mean we don't know much about her right? i still not really get the question.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    The limited omniscient tells the story from the point of view of a person who knows what only one person is thinking. In this story, the narrator knows what the woman is thinking -- but doesn't know what anyone else is thinking.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    then expanded omniscience mean that author know what everyone be thinking? i still not able to understand, do the author actually change from limited omniscient to expanded omniscient? but we are not given other peoples thoughts, except maybe at the very end when they all look out the window and feel jealous of girl.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    I also not get this question

    References 2 light appear significantly in the story. Tell the difference b/w the writer’s use of language that is suggestive of “bright” lights resulting into the reception of Thursday’s letter with the “muted” lights and language following her choice on Saturday not to go. In relations of mood creation, what descriptive intention do such difference serve? Do the description in second-to-last paragraph verify ur response? Explain.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    Yes, the author changes to expanded omniscient when she explores the thoughts and feelings of the people outside.

    The bright lights are cheerful, outgoing, and optimistic. The muted lights represent more aloneness and pessimism.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    thanks very much ms. sue :) what do it mean by when it say in relation to mood creation, what descriptive intention do such different serve? do that mean that the main character feeling happy at home, and not comfortable outside?

    also i not get the second part to that -- do that description in second to last paragraph verify ur response.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    Yes, the character seems more comfortable at home.

    The people outside are miserable with the cold rain and remember the simple times of their childhood when they were inside, warm and comfortable.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    thanks very much ms. sue :)

    i also need help with this questions which be

    How do the book Mansfield park take symbolic importance in this story? The person who leave the book behind, in what way she have done it for a reason that be thoughtful, imperative, and specifically proposed for her? The main characters choice to not pick up the book, how do that add to its representative impact?

    well i read short summary of mansfield park, and that main character that be girl, she not change herself for others, she likes this one guy, but she not tell her feelings to him, because he love someone else, but just staying as herself, she win over his love, and she be a shy girl, but i still not get the question.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    I also not get what this quote mean

    "life imitates art" i don't think that have anything to do with story, it just be her feelings it have to do with.

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    Doesn't the character want to be like the character in the book? Doesn't she want her life to imitate the literary art in the book?

  • English - ms. sue - ,

    oh that make sense, thanks very much ms. sue :)

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