How “Game” and “Mrs. Dalloway” Flee the Present


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Essay #: 054432
Total text length is 5,959 characters (approximately 4.1 pages).

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The beginning:
How “Game” and "Mrs. Dalloway" Flee the Present
In Donald Barthelme’s short story, “Game,” the past of the unnamed narrator shrinks into insignificance, overshadowed by a burdensome present. The narrator, who occupies a nuclear missile silo with the laconic Shotwell, is responsible for being one of the people necessary to launch a weapon from that location. He has, as of the writing of the story, been in the silo for 133 days, a tiny portion of his adult life. However, all traces of that life have been wiped away by the stress of living in the silo. Of his past, the narrator only notes that he intended to marry a woman named Lucy. The present is everything, and it is colored by what the narrator calls his illness. Four times, in what is...
The end:
.....ternate timestream (as so often happens in not only Mrs. Dalloway but also other modernist novels such as Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past), or disciplining memory and inhabiting the present so fully as to cease to become responsible for an unbearable future (as in “Game”). In both cases, the narratives incarnate what Ricouer, Blamey, and Pellaeur have called the predominant idea of modernity: the idea (mutable, exploitable) of time, as opposed to time as a given (308).
Barthelme, Donald. Sixty Stories. New York: Penguin Classics,
Ricouer, Paul, Blamey, Kathleen, and Pellauer, David. Memory,
History, Forgetting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. London: Wordsworth Classics,