Richard Brautigan’s short story ‘The Scarlatti Tilt’ truly defines the
meaning of ‘short story’. It is only two sentences in length. These two
sentences leave a lot of questions with the reader. This story left me
wondering what exactly happened before. Why is this woman saying these things?
What did she do? What happened to her after? The short story filled me with
On further investigation of the
title ‘The Scarlatti Tilt’, I
discovered that Domenico Scarlatti was actually an Italian musician. (Britannica, 2017). This
links back into the story as the woman featured in the story mentions a violin.
The woman refers to a man who plays the violin. The title cleverly links to
this aspect of the short story. We are told that the man is not an accomplished
violinist, instead he is in the process of learning how to play it. The woman
makes a clear reference to this fact. She had obviously been aggravated
somewhat by the man learning how to play the violin. The story is set with the
woman handing in an empty revolver to the police. Multiple connections can be
made here but the references to the man learning to play the violin, the studio
apartment and the empty revolver all relate back to one huge idea- did the
woman murder the man? Was his violin playing just too difficult for her to
handle and she had to resort to violence?
Although this story is short the way
it is written is very effective for me as the reader. There is just enough detail
given to allow the reader to form some theory as to what is going on. There are
some obvious theories, which can be developed from the use of the word ‘revolver’
and the presence of the police in the story and it can be assumed the woman was
aggravated by this man in question. The particular setting of the short story made
me think that the woman is guilty of some form of violence. The story is written
in a short, sharp way. As soon as I read the two sentences I could piece
together my theory of what I believe happened. The length of the story may also
be a potential link to the speed which the woman carried out her actions, she
could’ve possibly made a snap decision with regards to the violin player. A
moment of anger could’ve led her to her solution. It makes me wonder if there
is a relationship between the length of the story and the length of the time that
the woman took to carry out her actions?
conclusion this story is a very interesting one. The fact that so much information
is given in the story through the use of such a small volume of words is intriguing
to me. The techniques used by Brautigan are very clever in my opinion and this
is what makes this short story so enjoyable to ponder over.