Paul Bowles: Under the Sky

4 Apr

Here’s a nasty little story from the native’s perspective. So much for the noble savage. A couple of quick questions:

Is this guy supposed to represent his “people”? How would you characterize him?

Why does he start weeping at the end? And why does Bowles keep us out of his point of view when he does?

14 Responses to “Paul Bowles: Under the Sky”

  1. kristensteckbar10 April 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I don’t think that he represents the “people” in everything he does…but it seems like he is not the only one to smoke marijuana becasue those two guys take some from him, and he is doing it pretty openly and he doesn’t make note of people scorning at him or upset at him. I would hope that everyone in that town doesn’t go around praying on foreign people and killing their men. I assume that if that were the case then the tourism would stop and no one would go there anymore.

    • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      I don’t think he represents the people at all. I feel like the town is really run down and people sort of just gamble, drink, repeat. He doesn’t want to be like that, and he tries to get away from that by smoking pot. He uses the pot as a way to get outside of his body, and try to feel something real. He thinks he is above the social norms of getting drunk and gambling. He proves this by being a loner and a stoner who tries to experience something outside of this world. I assume he thinks the other people in the town would not understand what he is going through regardless if they are smokers or not.

  2. kyleemc2010 April 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Yeah this was a weird story.. But I don’t think that he is necessarily a good representation of the rest of his people. He seems to think of himself as different from them when he is walking into the town–walking tall and proud, and quicker than everyone else, almost like he feels better than everyone else.
    I interpret his weeping as him being lonely. He tries to fill this void his mother left by terrorizing these tourists by seeming stronger than them and more intimediating, but by the end of the day, he’s still sad and weak on the inside.

    • Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Yeah, he’s an arrogant bastard, unlike most of the others from his village. He’s a classic villain. And yet, he breaks down crying. Delayed shame?

      • 0213rose April 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

        I also kind of got the feeling that only he sees himself as taller and prouder. It could have been an inflated self image that might not necessarily be correct. There could very well be others just like him, feeling like they dont belong. It seems very unlikely there is just one of him, meaning he certainly couldn’t be the only one feeling like this.

      • stuartgaulke April 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        classic villain, yet when confronted by the man asking for his cigarettes he handed them over. It was obvious he didn’t want to hand them over but he did nothing about it. kinda weird

        • wakaflockablog April 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

          More like classic guy with no balls. He has this rough and tough attitude, but he won’t sack up and actually do anything

      • benamrein12 April 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

        I think that the lady at the cemetery that said, “he has lost his mother” might provide some knowledge about him. It could be possible that he did lose his mother and has lost his ways of how to treat a woman and didn’t have his mother to teach him and raise him

  3. 0213rose April 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    First and foremost, he is a pot head. At the start he’s described as barefoot and rolling his own cigarettes. He’s reminded me of a bored teenager who smokes because he has nothing else to do and enjoys terrorizing others for fun. He’s also very violent, bold and assertive. I was kind of confused as to the exact reason why he was crying. Was it becuase he knows what he does is wrong and feels bad, but cant help but do it anyways? Or had someone hurt him? That part of the story wasn’t very clear for me.

  4. Kel Daniels April 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Well, you two. I think everyone else has gone to class. How about we wrap this up and start again on Muesday. I’ll run to class really quick. The readings for next time: You Are Not I; and The Delicate Prey.


  5. shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    On behalf of the 12 people here in the classroom, first, people aren’t sure wether they should leave and comment on this or stay and wait… and second, whats the homework for next time?

  6. shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    I feel like he doesn’t completely represent his people but it said at the end that the boy had lost his mother which would be a significant reason for him going to the cemetery time after time to visit her. Also it would make sense that he smokes there since it allowed him to think about what his mother would see day after day, he just wanted to think about things from a different perspective for a bit

    • shannonzwicky April 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      never mind, I misinterpreted the ending. I think that he’s crying in the end because he feels as though he now knows how wrong he was previously for raping that tourist, but at the time he had left his emotions get the best of him

  7. benamrein12 April 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I think this man is just psychologically tramatized by an event in his past. It could have been something before he raped the tourist or even before that. This man is a native, yes. But I don’t think we can go so far as to say that this man is representing his “people” because ethnicity cannot limit the possibility of a person turning out the way they did and what they have done.

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