Free Essay: This is a story about how the balloon explores the public’s response to it and the relationship with the narrator conscience. The balloon itself. 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.

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Henry Prize Stories 1 O. In other words, the meaning of the balloon is that the balloon has no meaning. Martyna rated it liked it Dec 18, 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.

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. It lacks an absolute and fixed meaning as it simultaneously elicits a variety of responses and significations.

Refresh and try again. To paraphrase Barthelme, it offers the possibility and the process of interpretation, where at “any intersection” one can react in any number of ways.

Others—and every tthe is dependent upon one’s basic, innate temperament—are timid or hostile; they are frustrated by the balloon.

The underlying assumption is that the forms of art are explainable by the laws of art; literary language is not a proxy for something else, but rather an object of study itself. One group performs secret tests to try to make the balloon go away.

Posted by Charles May at 8: Each is another level of metaphor, a description of experience, clarifying the one before. According to the basic paradigm that underlies this movement–grounded on European phenomenology and structuralism and further developed in psychology, anthropology, and sociology–“everyday reality” itself is the result of a fiction-making process whereby new data are selectively accepted and metaphorically mutated to fit preexisting schemas and categories.


One of the targets in Donald Barthelme’s second collection of short stories, Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Actsis society’s blind gropings for truth. These then inevitably color the reader’s experience. Shauna rated it liked it Aug 21, As a giant balloon comes to exist in a city numerous people have different interactions with this mystical balloon, all of which reflect different attitudes to art.

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.

But Barthelme has done this without any fixed, definable material behind his structure. I liked it o Such a state—a state of the unknowable, the unclassifiable, the mysterious—evokes a variety of responses. Reading Alice Munro’s “Family Furnishings”. If you are interested in my comments on that collection, see my posts in April when the book was featured in Dublin’s “One City, One Book. Best American Short Stories Also I ju A cute little whimsical short story about authorial intention, and the purpose and meaning of art.

Katharina rated it did not like it Nov 29, Like other Munro stories, this story opens with an introit about an incident that does not seem plot related to the story, but might be the Preview — The Balloon by Donald Barthelme. Beautifully written but entirely confusing.

Reading the Short Story: Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon”– Short Story Month —Day 24

The problem of words, Barthelme realizes, is that so much contemporary language is used up, has become trash, dreck. Since films tell a realistic narrative so well, the fiction writer must develop a new principle. I love the delicacy and lyricism of The Balloona story with such a special beauty it deserves a review on its own.


As the balloon is to the speaker so is the story to the balloon. The participant—the reader, like the lover-narrator—becomes the ultimate artist or creator, and depending upon his or her system, grid, or frame of reference, constructs, or manipulates, or rejects, or simply plays with whatever responses the balloon elicits. It is the extreme means by which Barthelme attempts to reach this truth that makes his fiction so difficult.

The author probes the problems, if not the impossibility, of discovering meaning both in the external world and in one’s own consciousness.

It is all air within a structure or a covering.

The Balloon

Barthelme has noted that if photography forced painters to reinvent painting, then films have forced fiction writers to reinvent fiction. Chapters in Novels 1 short story and poetry 1 Short Story Criticism 1 Short Story Month 1 Short Story Month 2 Short Story Month 2 Short Story Month 1 Short Story Month 1 short story month part 10 1 short story month part 11 1 short story month part 12 1 short story month part 13 1 Short story month Part 3 1 Short Story Month Part 4 1 short story month part 5 1 short story month part 7 1 short story month part 8 1 short story month part 9 1 Short Story Prize 1 Short Story publishing 1 Short Story vs.

Mike rated it really liked it Jun 21, To study fiction then is to study the processes by which reality itself is created. Chekhov’s “Lady with the Pet Dog”.

Indu Muralidharan rated it it was amazing Nov 13,