Monday, November 24, 2014

Reader's Diary #1092: John Collier: Thus, I Refute Thee Beelzy

A couple of nights ago I went to see a wonderful production of Harvey, by Mary Chase, performed by Yellowknife's Lunchbox Theatre. Though it won a Pulitzer back in the 40s and has been adapted for film, it somehow escaped my radar. Anyway I quite enjoyed it, but oddly it had nothing to do with my choice of John Collier's "Thus, I Refute Thee Beelzy" for today's short story. The fact that both deal with characters who have imaginary friends, both to the frustration of those around them, is but a coincidence.

In Collier's story, the imaginary friend belongs to a young boy rather than a grown man. But the major difference between the two is that Chase's play is a comedy, while Collier's is definitely not.

While I was once again engaged with this story, I did find the dialogue odd. Granted some may have been intentional (there's a windbag of a father who likes to spout his superior knowledge of child-rearing), others may have been due to the time and place the story was written (England, 1940s). (Though I have to admit, it made me envision Jeff Goldblum in the role.)

Despite that, I liked the pacing of the story and buildup of danger. What begins as a generic childhood scene of a boy playing with an imaginary friend, escalates into a power-struggle between the boy and his dad-- but still, at this point, not an uncommon scene. Then it gets ugly.

Leafar is my imaginary friend par raphaë by leafar., on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License
   by  leafar. 

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It gets ugly? I am definitely there...