In the story of the Trojan War, Achilles’s “fatal flaw” changes drastically depending on the version and interpretation. Sometimes it’s his heel, the single weakness on an otherwise indestructible body; sometimes it’s his hubris, the crime of pride; sometimes it seems to be something more than either of those.
In literature, a return to a previously inhabited place or state often becomes a means of measuring. Here we are, back in the same place, yet not quite the same. What has changed, and what hasn’t, and what does that balance of sameness and difference do to us?
It’s been impossible to ignore the furor surrounding the revelation of Elena Ferrante’s identity last month. Some consider it an inevitability, yet the majority of her fans seem to feel that it is enough to have been given the gift of her writing, without expressly violating her wishes.
I’m currently about five months pregnant with our second child, and I’m finding this state no less strange the second time around. It’s plenty of other things too—miraculous, exciting, fascinating, wonderful—and I’m very grateful for it; but in describing the actual daily, bodily experience, that’s the word that first
Just west of Houston, before you reach Texas’ most remarkable stretch of nothing, there’s a crumbling Latin diner I take my kid brother on Fridays. It is refreshingly un-Yelpable. The family’s owned it forever. They’re almost native in their darkness, and when I order two beers, they’ve pitched us
Despite the simple title, the Monster is perhaps one of the most complicated, shifting characters in literature, past and present. Much of defining the Monster means defining ourselves and our views of the world. No other character relies so much on perspective to explain who (or what) the evil
Each June, my thoughts turn toward home. Toward my kids, bare feet, homemade dinners, and naps. Toward real life. I’ve taught high school for 13 years, I’ve learned to ride the waves of feeling that come during each season of the school year. June means home, and as my
After meeting Gothic characters the Byronic Hero and the Mad Woman, the time has come to visit periods before Romanticism in discovering a popular character known as The Wise Fool. Origin Story: The idea of the Wise Fool is somewhat hard to trace. Unlike some other character types,
Under Review: Something Like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron by Stephen Amidon (2012, Rodale, 240 pages) Sports, much like the arts, are only as vitally useful—or frivolously useless—as the beholder deems them. Neither game nor poem serves an essential function in helping