Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"My Name"

“My Name” by Richard Brautigan is a truly delicate story about identity hidden the dark. The entire story has a beat that closely resembles that of a Wednesday night Catholic Mass; small descriptions followed by the confirmation “That is my name.” Brautigan appeals to the unconscious moments we encounter in daily life, finding his identity in these moments rather than at the forefront. When one thinks of the name they were given, people often apply a label upon themselves. “I am Pamela” is a true statement, but what Brautigan investigates is how one’s identity exceeds a name. Each scene he describes is that of a secretive content moment, either experienced alone in bed or around a loved one. It seems that when he confirms these moments as “his name” he is telling the reader that he listens during the quiet, in-between moments. He lives outside of himself. I found his voice in this piece to be overwhelmingly calm, understanding, and familiar. Brautigan shows that we are all connected emotionally and personally. I felt that “My Name” described a series of predicaments we can all relate to. Its use of poetry and repetition made his message strong and demonstrated that his identity is not so unclear after all.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote something similar about My Name yet there are a couple of things that caught my eye that went beyond what I thought. I really liked how you compared his repetition of his name to that of Mass when the people repeat something each time after the father says something. I don't know if you meant to suggest that there were religious aspects in the piece, but it was a strong comparison in my mind. The other thing was your claim that he lives outside of himself. I thought his moments of descriptions were experiences and him suggesting that it is those experiences that make up our identity. However, I can totally see your view of these things being experiences we all share and can relate to and that we are all connected in that way.


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