Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Lifetime Waltz of a Sad Girl

Jenna Dertouzos
Understanding Literature
Dr. Ellis
October 12, 2016
The Lifetime Waltz of a Sad Girl
When walking in and sitting down at McManus Theatre last Thursday afternoon, I never would have guessed that the short story that Marian Crotty was about to get up and tell, would be so shockingly disturbing, yet engrossing at the same time. From the moment author, Crotty got on stage, this entire persona took over her being, where she acted in a very obscure way, while reading her entire short story. Personally, I did not even know it was a persona until after the short story was over, and she turned to her normal self to answer literary questions. Her persona of the creative writing story was just so amazing. Crotty’s short story is entitled, The Common Application with Supplement so I figured it could not be quite as interesting as it actually was. The voice of the main character is much like the negative voices in the poems, “Cincinnati”, “My Papa’s Waltz” and along with the short story, A Cask of Amontillado.
As she began, Crotty shocked the audience to its core when in her character’s voice, she described she two most traumatizing and confusing events in her life: her mother shooting herself in the head, and living, and her boyfriend, falling in love with her, while she sat and led him on for absolutely no reason. Her character voiced about of lot of negativity she had to deal with in all her years of living, and how it never got easy for her, and still is not today. She even exclaimed, “everyday, it was a struggle to keep my mother from trying to kill herself again”. Because of this crazed introduction, it was hard for me not to want to hear the rest; and everyone else in the auditorium seemed just as intrigued as well. I began to take notice that the character’s Common Application described her weaknesses, because she learned from her mother’s weaknesses. In the situations she talked about, it seemed very obvious that the character that Crotty portrayed in this short story did not have any self-esteem, following after her mother, in which she led her daughter to not want to get close to people because she did not think she deserved to be loved and appreciated--something that would ultimately give her self-esteem. Ad Crotty explained this in her persona's voice, it was quite apparent that it was something she will always battle. Following the end of the short story, Crotty transitioned from a depressed character in her short story, to her normal self, and began to explain how to write a short story. It was interesting to hear that she came up with the topic of this short story through research, imagination and then throwing in some truth from her own life to make it relatable. When asked how she found a voice for the depressed character, she explained that she first pictured a place where her character would fit in, and then write a list of personality traits that she wanted her character to have. Marian Crotty did an incredible job of finding and displaying her character’s voice and personality.
After reading the two poems and the short story, The Cask of Amontillado, it was hard to find a straight comparison with Marian’s event because us literary students do not know how Edgar Allen Poe, Mitsuye Yamada and Theodore Roethke felt when writing these poems. It is interesting when reading all of these works and listen to Marian’s short story, how similarly negative the word choice and vibe is in all four works. In The Cask of Amontillado though, I noticed a sense of entitlement that Montresor felt that he had over Fortunato, when he was trying to gain revenge against him. This is quite the opposite from Marian Crotty’s main character in The Common Application with SupplementWhile listening to Marian Crotty's performance, her fight with having dignity and enough confidence in herself seemed relatable to "My Papa's Waltz" where the waltz was a battle that the speaker had to deal with, too. Although there is much of a contrast between the readings and Marian Crotty’s short story, the negative despondency in the air of all works is what seems to be connected by all of the speaker's emotions.

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