Irony and the Elegies


As to what is revealed, in the Elegies, by Inter-Dialogism and Inter-Dialogic interactions— the leap of the consciousness of an individual into another’s consciousness, and then out again— we have seen that all Inter-Dialogic revelations are merely partial. No one can see or reveal anyone else’s brain in totem. But partial revelations are also conduits to revelations of irony— that what is revealed, what emerges on the surface, might be contradicted by something unseen, once the one consciousness is repelled out of the other. A case in point, of irony emerging from Inter-Dialogism in the Elegies, is 420:

The Junior Prom deposited me (and fifteen
others) on the floor of her basement. I could
barely see daylight at the time, and at three in
the morning I began to prowl. I was too scared
to turn on any lights. She emerged like a mermaid
from seaweed. I needed comfort, she enjoyed my
need. We had gone out— she was bitter. The whole
dialogue happened in shadows. No one was hooking
up in the other room, either. You spiteful little princess.

The way the Elegy concludes— “You spiteful little princess”— suggests the emergence of a duality. The heroine/anti-heroine of the poem is, in the context of the poem, a spiteful little princess— yet, if she were only that, if she were a one-dimensional character with no drama built into her consciousness, would she be worth writing about? The same applies to the hero/anti-hero in 261; we know he brings his dare-devil streak to the surface, and that he reacts negatively to the Elegiac Protagonist pulling rank for his status as an artist in Cheltenham; yet the way 261 concludes establishes a kind of parity, so that the Elegiac Protagonist has ways and means of insinuating that there is more to this character than meets the eye. The surface level or layer of the character is then riddled with ironies, and the potentiality of drama, through shocks and surprises. Intuition is a key to these revelations— what Inter-Dialogic interactions reveal to intuition, the hidden depths of another’s consciousness, are what make the figures in the Elegies both compelling and dramatic. The intuition is not just the writer’s, or the Elegiac Protagonist’s; it is something to be held and to function in the consciousness of the reader as well. How the reader reacts to the dramas in the Elegies depends on what intuitively strikes him or her as interesting or provocative. As to what the dire battle is in 420, and whatever else the spiteful little princess might be hiding, the leap can be made also into what the Elegiac Protagonist wants from her here— what kind of comfort, physical or emotional, or both— and back into the position that she has certainly leapt into his brain, seen what she has seen and then been repelled back out again, and then acted accordingly, and spitefully. Does she have reason to be tiny-minded and spiteful? Readers need to act on their hunches and expand their consciousness into this frozen moment, and live out part of the drama between the two brains for themselves. Then, they can begin the labor of establishing who is more spiteful, and tiny-minded.