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. 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 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. Is
there 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.
The techniques used by Brautigan are very clever in my opinion and this is what
makes this short story so enjoyable to ponder over.