Why “The Balloon” is the strangest, yet most intriguing short story of the post world war II era. Complete summary of Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Balloon. Dive deep into Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.

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In other words, the meaning of the balloon is that the balloon has no meaning. Sep 19, Simon rated it it was ok Shelves: Donald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania.

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

Apr 02, Kest Schwartzman donxld it it was amazing. Modern Language Association http: This giant balloon is mostly muted grays and browns contrasted with walnut and soft yellows giving the surface a rough, forgotten quality and anchored by sliding weights on the inside. Some people barthellme it fascinating and argue about its meaning. To write only about this process, however, is to run the risk of dealing with language on a level that leaves the reader gasping for something tangible and real, even if that reality is only an illusion.

Henry Prize stories part 1 1 O.

Abigail Perschall rated it it was amazing Nov 08, Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. Instill a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Now Available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle Click cover to go to Amazon and read the Introduction and first chapter. The balloon is an extended metaphor for the Barthelme story itself, to which people try to find some means of access and which creates varied critical responses and opinions. 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.


Alice Herondale rated it liked it Feb 06, Alex Greig rated it really liked it Jan 12, Indu Muralidharan rated it it was amazing Nov 13, Rather, he wishes to present modern men and women as the products of the media and the language that surround them. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. I found this adorable, although I do get frustrated when people have conceptions of art that are different to mine, and this is one of those times.

It lacks an absolute and fixed meaning as it simultaneously elicits a variety of responses and significations. The Balloon by Donald Barthelme. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. View all 6 comments. Shauna rated it liked it Aug 21, Elisa rated it it was ok Dec 04, What is constructed according to a logic of ends and means is deconstructed when it comes into contact with the outermost edge.

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The Balloon

Short Stories 1 O. Simon Kempe rated it really liked it Apr 23, Marion and Donald remained wed until his death from throat cancer.

He seemed much closer to his mother and agreeable to her strictures. Fictional self-consciousness in the short story does not allow the reader to maintain the comfortable assumption that what is depicted is real; instead, the reader is made uncomfortably aware that the only reality is the process of depiction itself–the language act of the fiction-making process.


When I was teaching the short story, I prepared for each class thoroughly, taking more notes than necessary to help me remember the most im For Barthelme, the problem of language is the problem of reality, for reality is the result of language processes. 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.

Short Story 2 Novella 2 novella as a form 1 Novels vs. Because they are satires, many of the stories are based not on the lives of individuals but on the means by which that abstraction called society or the public is manipulated.

Others—and every response is dependent upon one’s basic, innate temperament—are timid or hostile; they are frustrated by the balloon. Mar 30, Lea Dokter rated it it was ok. But Barthelme has done this without any fixed, definable material behind his structure.

Caligari appeared inhis short fiction was both much complained about and much imitated. All, however, “interpret” it according to their own frames of reference, and Barthelme has a heyday tracing the gamut of responses. On close reading and rereading sonald most of Barthelme’s fictions demandit becomes clear that from the beginning the balloon—like one’s story, or one’s words, or one’s comprehension of life—has been controlled by the speaker.