Richard Brautigan’s short story ‘The Scarlatti Tilt’ truly defines themeaning of ‘short story’. It is only two sentences in length. These twosentences leave a lot of questions with the reader. This story left mewondering 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 withwonder. On further investigation of thetitle ‘The Scarlatti Tilt’, Idiscovered that Domenico Scarlatti was actually an Italian musician. (Britannica, 2017). Thislinks 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 tothis aspect of the short story. We are told that the man is not an accomplishedviolinist, instead he is in the process of learning how to play it. The womanmakes a clear reference to this fact. She had obviously been aggravatedsomewhat by the man learning how to play the violin. The story is set with thewoman handing in an empty revolver to the police. Multiple connections can bemade here but the references to the man learning to play the violin, the studioapartment and the empty revolver all relate back to one huge idea- did thewoman murder the man? Was his violin playing just too difficult for her tohandle and she had to resort to violence?Although this story is short the wayit is written is very effective. There is just enough detail given to allow thereader 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 ofthe police in the story and it can be assumed the woman was aggravated by thisman in question. The story is written in a short, sharp way. As soon as I readthe two sentences I could piece together my theory of what I believe happened. Thelength of the story may also be a potential link to the speed which the womancarried out her actions, she could’ve possibly made a snap decision with regardsto the violin player. A moment of anger could’ve led her to her solution. Isthere a relationship between the length of the story and the length of the timethat the woman took to carry out her actions? Inconclusion this story is a very interesting one. The fact that so much informationis 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 whatmakes this short story so enjoyable to ponder over.