Kurt Vonnegut: Find Me A Dream

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At a very concise 10 pages, for Week 10 of my Deal Me In 2014 project, I read Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Find Me A Dream” from his collection Bagombo Snuff Box.  The conciseness worked wonderfully well and provided a few subtly memorable characters.

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Arvin Borders is one of the most prominent citizens of Creon, Pennsylvania, the sewer pipe manufacturing capital of the world.  At age 46, he is also one of the more eligible bachelors of Creon.  He brings his date to the Creon Country Club for an evening of drinking, dancing, mingling and schmoozing.

Hildy Mathews, a relatively well-known actress and widow, accompanies Arvin to the Country Club; but at the time of the story, she’s outside on the patio crying into her highballs.  She’s still “mourning” the death of her husband.

While not literally in the story, Hildy’s dead husband plays a significant role in the conversations of the evening.  As Borders puts it, her husband was:

A dope fiend, an alcoholic, a wife-beater, and a woman-chaser who was shot dead last year by a jealous husband.

When he reveals his name to the band, they realize that Hildy’s dead husband was “probably the greatest jazz musician who had ever lived.” As the story continues, Vonnegut never mentions the Jazz musician’s name.  I found it incredibly funny that I could probably insert the name of any great Jazz musician and they would more or less fit the above description.

And then there is Andy Middleton, the leader of the band, the Creon Pipe-Dreamers.  I love his name, Middleton.  It reminds me of “middle of the road”, “fair-to-middlin'”, and even perhaps “Midwest”.   Andy discovers Hildy on the patio and begins talking to her with his band’s so-so music in the background.  Much talk is made of the band’s “average-ness”, but Hildy makes a proposal to Andy that promises to make him above average; however, from Andy’s perspective, something could be said for remaining average.

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5 responses to “Kurt Vonnegut: Find Me A Dream

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 10 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. Hi Dale,
    Andy’s band name is also inspired in my humble opinion. 🙂 I’ve always found this story to be a little under par forVonnegut, but it does have some great moments.
    -Jay

    • Hi Jay,
      You are right, Andy’s band’s name is hilarious, also! I think what I liked about this story was that Vonnegut manages to get in a lot of background on these characters in a short amount of time and does it well. I also liked the idea of everything happening in the course of one evening. And I liked it better than The Powder Blue Dragon!
      -Dale

  3. I really enjoy Vonnegut’s short stories, but I haven’t read this particular collection yet. I’ll have to look it up.

    I agree – great use of names by the author!

    • As Jay has pointed out before, Welcome to the Monkey House is another great collection of Vonnegut’s. I read it all at once. This collection, I’ve been reading for the better part of two years and am still not finished with it. I don’t want it to end!
      -Dale

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