Short Story #144: The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze by William Saroyan

Title:  The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Author:  William Saroyan


William Saroyan - Daring Man on Flying Trapeze
The begins with a stream of thought that traverses various topics from Rome to the Eiffel Tower to Cadillacs in California.  It is clear, these are the extravagant dreams of a destitute man.  He awakes and wanders the city, partly searching for food and in part searching for meaning.  He finds a penny to which he believes will provide him some hope for the day as he wanders.  He ponders his life and its meaning and whether he should continue one with living.  He eventually finds himself in what appears to be an unemployment line where he is interviewed about this abilities.  He explains he is a writer and the woman takes his information before dismissing him.  He visits other unemployment agencies with similar results.  He reflects upon his life and continues with a few other activities throughout the day before retiring to his rented room at the YMCA.  The story ends with him dying.  


It's a dark story to end this comprehensive anthology of American literature on.  However, the drive of the story was interesting.  The protagonist as a man between the bars while up on the trapeze, not quite catching the next bar seems to be the driving point.  The potential and excitement of life can still be understood by the protagonist but he is mere witness and no longer participant to them.  

Short Story #144 out of 365
Rating: 3  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  5/22/2014
Source:  The Bedside Book of Famous American Short Stories edited by Angus Burrell and Bennett A. Cerf.  Random House, 1936.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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