Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dubliners and Wee Folk 6:31

Don Juan's Temptation (1948)

“Good sex is like good bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.” ― Mae West

The Plain Facts

  1. Length:8 pages/li>
  2. Genre:Irish Literature

  3. Characters:

      • Gussie Leonards
      • Helen

  4. Setting:County Cork Ireland

So, what's It About Man?

We find a battle between school girl romance and Don Juan seduction; as told by a lady of the night.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead

First Words

Against the Gussie Leonords of the world, we poor whores have no defenses.

Last Words

Sons of bitches! That's what they are, to a man.

Favorite Quote

"But my dear young lady," he said offering a cigarette, "who ever said I have a poor opinion of women?  On the contrary, I have a very high opinion of women, and the more I see of them the more I like them."

Analysis of Story

The story is told from the point of view of a woman, a busybody, who wants to inform all of Gussie's tricks in order to prevent the innocent woman from falling for his way-ward seductions. The narrator has set her biases against Gussie. So when we read what was said, we should not read it as a word for word dialogue, but the gist. The gist is tainted by the narrator's own feelings. Also the narrator has known Gussie intimately, either by careful observation, or by an intimate relationship. The author does not tell us who the narrator is, however, we can make out a type. I see a heavy set woman sitting on a rocking chair, crocheting something for the new baby born in the parish, and opening a window to hear the goings on around Cork, Ireland. Or perhaps a woman of the night hanging onto a lamp post, and listening into the story. We see that Cork is a small place where everyone knows everyone's business. We also see that the prostitutes have the party line open and know Cork's goings. I hope to re-read this story in the future as its complexity made me go back and read it from the last page to the first page, a reversal, to find the moments when romantic school girl notions become involved with Don Juan's slyness. This story works for its dialogue, and reminds me of Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants.

Turnip Tips

  • Sheehan is a famous pathologist, and in this story is a reference to those who think they know the pathology of a seducer.

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