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Missing something in "Skeleton"
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I was given Skeleton from my English teacher to read and write a thesis paper on it.

After reading it throughly three times, I feel like I'm missing something. I'm not connecting any moral metephors with the story; all I see is a black and white sci-fi story about a hypocondriac man who thinks his skeleton is attacking his body.

Help?
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Connecticut | Registered: 28 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "moral metaphors", but when I think about the story, questions come to my mind, like:
- In which way does Mr. Harris' hypochondriac state change during the story -- and why?
- Who are the persons in the story Mr. Harris should trust, and who is not to be trusted -- and why?

Why do you think it's a science fiction story?
And why do you think it's black and white? (Apart from a little dark man playing a white flute...)
 
Posts: 62 | Location: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: 23 July 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why do you think it's a science fiction story?
And why do you think it's black and white? (Apart from a little dark man playing a white flute...)[/B][/QUOTE]

I didn't literally mean black and white; I meant that it just seems like a flat out, no deeper meaning story.
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Connecticut | Registered: 28 October 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is one of my favorite stories of his. I still remember reading it my first time back in the late 60's.

One thing I think the story is about is our sometimes obsessive need for perfection. When we take this need (beauty, money, comfort, popularity, etc.) to extreme measures, we damage ourselves. In our obsession, we become blind to what we are doing; and behaviours that we are accepting as normal are viewed by others as being problematic, at best.

You might look at that kind of angle. Maybe we need to accept ourselves and our imperfections a little better. I'm 49 and am absolutely shocked at the amount of women I know personally, who have had breast enhancements, liposuction, etc., who looked JUST FINE to me! Yet they're getting surgery with the risks of disfigurement and infection. Isn't some of this excessive and obsessive? (I'm not saying that all cases of cosmetic surgery are wasteful, but these women -- every one of them -- did not have a need for surgical intervention that seemed apparent to me.) But it did to them. Isn't that a possible example of what is going on in Bradbury's "Skeleton"?
 
Posts: 1964 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not leaving well enough alone and fixing what ain't broke left an opening for an unscrupulous "doctor" to take advantage. Could the lesson be to learn to like yourself and not be at war with some part you haven't learned to accept?
 
Posts: 2694 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Its just a well Written, spooky, little story with an ingenious ending that loses a little when read to often; like twice or three times.

[This message has been edited by Paul White (edited 11-02-2004).]
 
Posts: 11 | Location: Victoria Australia | Registered: 02 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think people who attribute moral message and purpose to this and many other stories ae going too far. And this especially goes for teachers who require their students to come up with such interpretations.

I think "Sleeping"'s response is healthy and reasonable, and I hope my encouragement helps her/him.

Every short story must have a 'motor' that drives it. Thhis 'motor' sets the protagonist moving in a direction, a deviation from placid normalcy. this 'motor' can be love, ambition, or, in this case, hypochondria.

The writer may personally approve or disapprove of love, ambition, or hypochondria. But the writer takes his feeling to be in common with that of his audience. He is not messaging them what they already know. He is simply using emotional and moral shadings to amuse, delight, trick, and terrify. That is hihs real purpose. Bradbury wanted to be a magician. He wanted to pull rabbits out of hats and birds out of coat-sleeves. Had he become a stage magician, he would not have been 'messaging' his audience "Bunny rabbits are nice . . . and birds need to be free." He would simply have been amazing and surprising them.

Sure, a writer brings his own feelings and observations to his work. When these feelings rise up very strongly, he is communicating a message to us, as RB does in OTHER WORKS. But let us not mistake his intent here. It is simply to amuse and horrify us, like a stage magician. It is not to preach or warn us against hypocondria.
 
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But...

Name one SCIENCE FICTION element in that story.

Science Fiction can be anything, but anything can't be Science Fiction.
 
Posts: 901 | Location: Sacratomato, Cauliflower | Registered: 29 December 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But...

Name one SCIENCE FICTION element in that story.

Science Fiction can be anything, but anything can't be Science Fiction.
 
Posts: 901 | Location: Sacratomato, Cauliflower | Registered: 29 December 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mr. Bradbury himself has said that he puts metaphors into his stories -- both consciously and unconsciously. He has said repeatedly that Hawthorne is one of his favorite writers and Hawthorne is quite consciously a moral writer.

My own view is that the attempt to seek meaning in a story is a valid attempt, and that this attempt is quite fruitful in the case of Ray Bradbury. You can do both -- enjoy the story, and seek to understand it at a higher level. Rather than being mutually exclusive, I think they enhance each other.
 
Posts: 1964 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Does anyone know how to contact Ray? I need to know for english class. anything will help. Please???
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 03 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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