‘They’re just paper’: Interpreting Stories and the Storyteller in
presentation of himself should not be presented as accurate‟
in such a context.
A statementthat McDonagh made in an interview with
The Los Angeles Times
has become a frequent reference point, and raises questions about authorialresponsibility and intent:
In terms of the larger issues he raises about creativity and the writer's moral responsibilities, he says,
there are no easy answers. “
I think it does say that creativity is beautiful and worthwhile for its own
sake,” he says, “
But in terms of responsibility? I don't think that Martin Scorsese can be heldrespons
ible because John Hinckley saw „Taxi Driver‟
many times and became obsessed with JodieFoster. If something happened
to a child after a person saw „Pillowman,‟
I'd definitely feel guilty aboutit, but I wouldn't be culpable
This eschewing of culpability and its separation from intent are tied together by Tupolski
after he paraphrases „The Three Gibbet Crossroads‟: „All this story to me, this story is a
pointer. [...] It is saying to me, on the surface I am saying this, but underneath the surface Iam saying this ot
her thing‟ (18
-9). For Tupolski
and Ariel, stories must have such a „pointer‟
or moral lesson at its heart, and as Lonergan surmises
, they „insist that Katurian‟s storiesmust have a metaphorical as well as a literal meaning‟.
Carroll, and also Hana and W.B.Worthen,
refer to Katurian‟s stories as „parables‟, implying that
they present us with
[a](usually realistic) story or narrative told to convey a moral or spiritual lesson or insight [...]Something that may be pointed to as an example or illustration, an exemplary case; a model,
attempt at storytelling
, „The Story of the Little Deaf Boy on the BigLong Railroad Tracks. In China‟
, illustrates such a
„if it doesn‟t sum up my world
view, it sums up my view of detective work and the relation of that detective work to the
world at large‟ (85).
To his mind, stories serve to instruct and to inform the reader that,
„because of [his]
toiling away with [his] detective work, that little boy is going to be safe
from that train‟ (90).
Although his work is subject to allegorical interpretation by the likes of Tupolski and his brother Michal
, Katurian vehemently disagrees with such an assessmentand with didactic reading as a whole:
See Dean, p.29;
O’Neill, p.670; Noël Carroll, ‘
, or The Justification of Literature
Philosophy and Literature
p.171; and Patrick Lonergan, quoted in Brian Cliff, ‘
: a new story to tell’, in Richard Rankin Russell (ed.),
Martin McDonagh: A Casebook
(Oxford andNew York: Routledge, 2007), p.132.
Patrick Pacheco, ‘Laughing matters’,
Los Angeles Times
, May 22
Oxford English Dictionary
; Carroll, p.171; Hana Worthen and W.B. Worthen, ‘
Ethics of Allegory’,
49.2 (2006), p. 160.
Worthen and Worthen, p.160.