Manual Lost in the Funhouse

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Certain stories should be read quietly, on an individual basis, while others are meant to be read aloud, listened to from a recording, or performed by several players. Each piece is independent of the next, though all the stories affect the others in some way.

The Novelist as Topologist: John Barth's Lost in the Funhouse

The character of Ambrose Mensch appears in three chapters and each tale covers a different portion of his childhood. The first story about Ambrose discusses his lack of a name for the first few months of his life. Ambrose is eventually named after a swarm of bees hovers over him and his mother and he is not stung. His uncle remarks that event is similar to that of Saint Ambrose and the name sticks.

Lost In the Funhouse

In the next tale, Ambrose is in fourth grade and bullied by classmates and kids in the neighborhood. His older brother Peter provides very little protection and when Ambrose is waiting for his brother who is in a secret club meeting with other neighborhood boys, Ambrose finds a message in a bottle. The message ends up being nothing more than a greeting and salutation but Ambrose fantasizes what excitement it might hold before opening it. In the third chapter about Ambrose, he is thirteen and heading to Ocean City, Maryland, to spend the 4th of July holiday with his family.

Several characters from mythology make appearances in the book, including Echo, Menelaus, Helen, Narcissus and Telemachus.


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In each piece, traditional stories from mythology are retold in a fresh way that pays homage to the original stories. The author makes connections between the contemporary stories of Ambrose Mensch and the ancient stories of mythology, showing human nature and storytelling have not changed much through the centuries. The author often pauses in mid-thought to point out the literary devices he is employing and how they agree or disagree with conventional fiction writing.

(PDF) Postmodernism and John Barths Lost in the Funhouse () | Robyn Dudic - akivdachan.gq

Some pieces discuss the meaning and futility of life through the voice of a traveling sperm or a tape recording. As an entire collection, Lost in the Funhouse comments on what the author believes to be overused writing techniques as he gives his own fresh spin on how fiction should be written, read, heard, and performed. Read more from the Study Guide. Browse all BookRags Study Guides.

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Toggle navigation. Sign Up. Philip H. About Me I am a lover of poetry and prose, an aspiring writer and literary critic, and a secular humanist with a strong belief in the ideals of the Enlightenment.

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John Barth - 'Lost in the Funhouse' (1968): Writing about Writing about Writing.

Salinger J. Vance J. Ballard J.