Mary, Edna Bryan, O'toole discussed on The New Yorker: Fiction


Yeah. Also, when you brought up the story, you said that your first reading of it, you were drawn to it because of the kind of Cinderella quality of this girl going to the ball and then having her dreams dashed because prince charming does not show up to this ball. But what's interesting to me is that even the prince charming in the story, while he was just a married guy who was playing around with a 15 year old girl, no intention of ever coming back, he told her he couldn't love her because he had a wife. That is exactly right. I almost think it becomes a sort of joke between the author and the reader. And not exactly at Mary's expense, but we can see what she can't. First of all, he's not honorable. He is married. As you say, no intention of coming back. But the other component of that dynamic is that he's got her washing his shirts and acting nursemaid and attending to his sunburn and she's all ready, gleefully engaged in the drudgery of what a wife would be doing for this man. But sees it as part of this avenue for escape that she might have. But I think that that is a kind of tender joke there. Yeah. Why do you think he sends the drawing? You know, I don't know why he sends her the drawing except that it probably pleases him to think of her pining a little bit. And maybe he's proud of his artistic accomplishments, but one interesting thing about the drawing is that when Edna Bryan revised the story and changed the title of it to put into her collection, she changed the drawing from looking like Mary, but prettier to looking like Mary, but uglier. It's an interesting change. I don't know exactly what it means except that the dream of the seduction withers that much sooner. Upon the moment of the drawings arrival, Mary may be conceived better that this person didn't actually see her for who she was. Or didn't see her for whatever she values about her own beauty. Yeah. Interestingly, O'Toole does see her beauty. No tool the most crass of all people who can't be bothered to remember her name. You know, other people might think her hair was ski lish. I think that's the worst. Which I think means sort of slovenly and messy. But he sees the beauty in it. He likes these simple girls. Right, and they're both tall and thin. Yeah. And I think he doesn't know better than to try to pursue her by persistence. He won't have been the first man in the history of the world to adopt this tactic. Yeah. I mean, he's sort of put out that no one wants to have a cuddle with him. You know, he feels it's owed to him. On the other hand, until he gets really drunk and opens all the taps. He doesn't seem malicious to me. He just seems confused as to why there's no response to his advances. What, I don't think that having desire for somebody and using persistence to try to pursue them is necessarily malicious. It might just be a misunderstanding of what they want versus what you want. Of course, the effects of it can be very harmful to people, but that doesn't mean that his intention is to hurt Mary..

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