The Fear of the Unknown

Topics: Postmodernism, Modernism, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (1175 words) Published: April 3, 2014

The Fear of The Unknown
The short stories of Ben Loory, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, exhibit numerous postmodern qualities through literary context, language and themes. One of these reoccurring themes within the collection is the concept of fear of the unknown. Three stories exemplary of this theme are “The Magic Pig,” “The Fish in the Teapot,” and “The Snake in the Throat.” In every one of these stories chosen there is an appearance of an object. One character is tortured by the mystery of this object. Where has it come from? What is its purpose? Is it really present? While pining over the identification of the object, the character starts to deteriorate in one form or another. They become burdened with the obsession of concrete meaning; a black and white, a right and wrong. This is a classic example of a modernist mind stuck in a postmodern world.

Postmodernism is about the arbitrary connection between reality and the subject matter. The point of postmodernism is to create a connection and knowledge through culture not through the past meanings that have developed over time. Barthes, Derrida, and Saussure each deeply study the themes of the postmodern world, and every man’s conclusion comes down to the same thread of arbitrariness. It is not about a one single meaning in the postmodern world, it is about the context. Therefore, fear of the unknown must be vanished. Signs take on whole new meanings, and the unknown becomes less relevant as a mystery needing a meaning, and turns into an answer all in itself.

In “The Magic Pig,” A man is left with the conflict of the existence of God, through faith in a sign. At the dinner table with his family a man’s daughter claims God has enlightened her. The man insists that there must be a concrete sign to show God’s reality. At that very moment a pig figurine appears in the middle of the table. All the family takes this as a sign, they now believe. The conflict begins, the man refuses to believe....
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