Sunday, September 11, 2011

Purpose of life?

Do go through this little essay, and let me know – did you find it gross, or sad, or funny, or just stupid? I couldn't make up my mind.


Shilpi said...

Gross and stupid and silly too. That's my vote.

....and it's one of those things which would seem gross even if it were in somebody's diary...although there it wouldn't matter so much.

Subhadip Dutta said...

I did not understand what the person has actually tried to say. What does he mean by "At least I am good for something" in the last line?

Shilpi said...

And you didn't miss anything.

Means she thinks she's good at least for 'providing' her face as a home for those crab-like crawlies, which live off her...and which 'procreate and multiply'....That's her purpose of life. She's '...good for something'.

Gross and pointless. Can't help wondering why they published it.

Arijit said...

The author is describing about a boring life.The girl is good for nothing. I found the story as sad.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Well, I'm afraid that it's not so easy as that, Arijit. For one thing, it's not a girl but an elderly woman, a writer of some repute, too (see and anyone who is a serious reader would understand that it is probably a very great deal of bitter and tiresome experience of life that has made her so gloomy. Whether by being too facetious in order to cover up the gloom she has made an error of literary judgment is, of course, open to question, but that is a different issue.

Shilpi said...

...gloomy yes, and sad too - and life can get sad and tiresome and boring for different reasons, and I'm quite sure that mine will go out with a whimper but before I start thinking about the mites on my face as the purpose of my being I hope and pray that I'm very, very dead, and maybe buried - so that the other mites can make a meal of my body and bones. I don't say this very often - but it's better to be deluded and to believe that there is a greater purpose to life than to think of the colonies of parasites that feed off me. And I'm saying this after having this particular piece crawl around in my head and after having one alarmingly amusing and sad (maybe ironical) liner peal out every now and then.

What also got to me is that The American Scholar seems to be publishing rather mediocre writing these days, which probably explains something else. Also, once it publishes pieces by noted academicians who can think some and write in plain language, it publishes anything that they write - and the editors seem to like writing which is somewhat fashionably cynical. Priscilla Long's previous articles, long as they were didn't seem bad at all; I greatly enjoyed reading one (although she could have mentioned India in relation to the 'zero'), and parts of another but this one is just silly and pointless. Within the pages of a private diary, it may have been alright, but what's the purpose of the piece in a magazine which portrays itself as publishing thoughtful, sensitive, and profound essays? What does it hold out?

I like reading pieces that prod at the purpose of life and even somewhat irreverently or otherwise. There's that priest Emilio Sandoz who muses with amusement and rather quizzically about the purpose of it all some moments before returning from an alien planet...and even Leto does so in Dune, and even Dumbledore actually, if one thinks about it and so do Snoopy and Calvin and Hobbes...and there are other fictional and quite non-fictional characters who do the same and sometimes sadly, sometimes quizzically, sometimes philosophically and/or mystically and sometimes humorously even. I can't say that I find their musings - short or long as they were/are - gross and purposeless. This one is.