The voice of the story is an arts professor who teaches in Oklahoma.From the beginning of the story, the professor is portrayed as a veryartistic individual with a unique way of seeing things. As the storyprogresses, it is revealed that the professor has high affinity fordetail and is some kind of artistic-perfectionist. The professor isin love with a lady, who he introduces with passion as the storyopens. “Angela…your scent, melony, yet sharp and immaculate asyogurt” (213). From this description, the reader can form twopostulates. First, the professor is very imaginative, and uses fineand charming words to describe his lover. Secondly, the professor’slove for Angela may have taken a toll on his mentality, as he feelsthat Angela is the only lady that he would rather be with in hisrather private life. As the storyline progresses, the reader gets tounderstand more about the professor’s feelings for Angela, and howshe had taken over his heart and feelings.
Angela,who was the professor’s former student, had developed an intimaterelationship with the professor. However, just before she left, thetwo made an agreement that they cut off communication for theduration she was away (a test, it was called) (213). Perhaps this isthe best demonstration of the nature of relationships that the twohad developed, in that, both being artists, they would conduct theirrelationship in an artistic manner. However, the professor’s storyis itself a breach of the agreement that the two had made to eachother, which was, to cut off all communication. Or at least, Angelamay have outsmarted the professor in her artistry. When she left,Angela did not quite cut all forms of communication. She used herartistic superiority to make the professor feel like they were stillcommunicating. In order to achieve this, she played to theprofessor’s mind by leaving behind pearls in almost every place inthe house, even in places that the professor never thought existed.“..one in the bathtub faucets (very clever), one in the soap dish,and the one that dolloped out of my toothpaste tube (how did you everget in there)” (214). While it made the professor feel moreattached to her, it at the same time made him feel inferior to herartistic mastery. This almost drives the professor insane, to a pointthat he almost seduces one of his students.
Thestory makes use of fine words, to portray the professor’s feelingsand to put the reader in the environmental set-up of the plot.However, objects in the storyline are more important than the wordsthemselves. For instance, in the opening lines, the professor makesreference to Angela’s body part, her diaphragm. “Your diaphragm,placed, according to the promise..” (213). Similarly, he mentionsthe pearls, which create the foundation of the whole story. Insteadof leaving a written message behind, Angela used these objects(pearls) to leave a stronger message in the professor’s apartment.These pearls replace the words that the professor would have insteadused to communicate to her. The author therefore uses the objects tosignify her superior artistry. This is a very artistic story itself,as the reader hears the message from Angela more than theprotagonists’ (the professor’s voice). The professor’s anxietyis on the other hand, a manifestation of artistic inferiority toAngela.
And it arrives. It has been days now. I could not help myself fromplanning for this. This is the day. I can no longer pretend to beable to play along. I give up. If you cannot beat them, join them.Right? Is that not what they say about the loser strategy? I bet itis. I have to find a way of getting back to you. I pick up the brush.The paint is all well mixed up. Am sure I got all aspects right thistime, the depth, ratios, and amount. This is my reply. I am notbreaking the rules, I am just playing along with yours. The pearls,(I admit, I never saw that coming), were your way of keeping intouch.
This painting, will be my way of keeping in touch. I am not yet surewhat to do with it once I am done. I am not even sure what I willdraw. But I trust my instincts, they will guide my feeble hands.Wait. May be not. I have been mortified once. It is only fair that Ido not do it to myself over again. I at least have a little dignityleft in me. I have been outmaneuvered, Or have I not been? Let meconcentrate on rebuilding. I shall start where it all began. Mystudents. They are still learning, it makes no sense for me to expectso much from them.
The students, Tilly, and I. we are all have something new to learn.No need to be harsh on each other, or ourselves. Like a painting, itneeds retouches over and over again, to be impeccable. Or still, beat least like you. But I wonder how long you took, your motivation,or is it just luck? I will know by the time the holiday is over.
One of the most significant decisions that I made was that I wouldkeep the sentences short and precise. Throughout the entire story,the author avoids long sentences and wordiness, and still manages tomaintain the flow of the story. At the same time, continuing with theshort sentences maintains the reader’s mood, and as such, one doesnot easily realize that the ending is written by another author. Asfor the character, I maintained the professor’s state of mind,quite confused and unpredictable. As seen from the story, theprofessor sometimes gets absurd, for instance, in the part where hesent away Tilly. In the ending, the professor’s actions of wantingto draw a painting and later changing his mind is inspired by hisunpredictable mental state, as constructed by the author.
Ichose some advanced words to keep the tempo of the story uniform(outmaneuvered, impeccable), and to demonstrate the professor’screative state of mind. Additionally, these words maintain thehigh-level language degree of the story, which perhaps in one of theseveral aspects that makes it unique from other short stories. At thesame time, I chose to use question tags, which are characteristic ofthe rest of the story. The ending adds to the original one byupholding the element of suspense. For instance, at the beginning ofthis alternate ending, the reader does not know what the professorwill do on the day, which he says “and it arrives”. Similarly,the reader does not know what the professor does, after deciding notto draw. I made all these decisions to make my part seem as if it waswritten by the author himself.