Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Liberty Hall." Ring Lardner.

Review: The topic is visiting others when you don’t want to. [It’s my belief that people cannot live together or visit together for more than twenty-four hours because you have your way of doing things and the other people have their way of doing things. And they are, in their house, in control. The two ways of doing things don’t work. RayS.] Ben is a composer of music for the theater. He is a very busy man. He is continually being ;pressed to “come visit us.” Ben, because of his experiences, does not want to visit other people. However, sometimes he and his wife are tricked into accepting the invitation. This is the story of one of these visits. It’s a disaster for Ben.

From the moment they arrive, Ben and his wife find themselves being controlled by the host couple. When Ben wants to smoke his favorite brand of cigarettes, he is urged by the hostess to smoke her brand. In every instance, he is required by the host or hostess to do it “their way.” Ben has even predicted that such a thing will happen, so he has asked a friend to send a telegram urging him to come back to New York to resolve some crisis. The hostess, of course, in order not to have Ben put under ;pressure and be able to relax chooses not to tell him about the telegram that was meant to give Ben and his wife their freedom.

Quote: “He absolutely abhors visiting and thinks there ought to be a law against invitations that go beyond dinner and bridge. He does not mind hotels where there is a decent light for reading in bed and one for shaving and where you can orders meals, with coffee, any time you want them. But I really believe he would refer to spend a week in the death house in Sing Sing than in somebody else’s house

Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.

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