A Sport and a Pastime By James Salter
A Sport and a Pastime She has taken a caramel out of her handbag. She unwraps it, puts it in her mouth to ensure her silence. Her fingers play with the paper, rolling it slowly, tightening the roll. Her eyes are pale blue. They can stare right through one. The nose is long but feminine. I am curious to see her teeth. p. 7
A Sport and a Pastime She touches her hair, first beneath one ear, then the other. Her wedding ring seems to be enameled. An umbrella with a violet canopy is strapped to her luggage. The handle is gold, no thicker than a pencil. No polish on her fingernails. She sits motionless now and stares out the window, her mouth curved in a vague expression of resignation. p. 8
A Sport and a Pastime She touches her hair, first beneath one ear, then the other. Her wedding ring seems to be enameled. An umbrella with a violet canopy is strapped to her luggage. The handle is gold, no thicker than a pencil. No polish on her fingernails. She sits motionless now and stares out the window, her mouth curved in a vague expression of resignation. The little girl who is opposite me cannot take her eyes from her. p. 8
A Sport and a Pastime I begin to look out the window. We are coming close now. Finally, in the distance, against the streaked sky, a town appears. A single, great spire, stark as a monument: Autun. I take my bags down. I have a sudden, little spell of nervousness as I carry them along the corridor. The whole idea of coming here seems visionary. p. 8
A Sport and a Pastime Only two or three people get off. It’s not yet noon. There’s a single clock with black hands that jump every half-minute. As I walk along, the train begins to move. Somehow it frightens me to have it go. The last car passes. It reveals empty tracks, another quai, not a soul on it. Yes, I can see it already: on certain mornings, on certain winter mornings this is almost completely hidden in mist; details, objects come forth slowly as one walks. In the afternoons, the sun imprints it all with cold, bodiless light. I pass into the main room of the station. There’s a newsstand with iron shutters. It’s closed. A large scale. Schedules on the wall. The man behind the glass of the ticket window doesn’t look up as I walk by. p. 8
A Sport and a Pastime Imagery: Color – Blues & Greys Gold & Caramel Juxtaposition Perspective: Who is watching whom? Who is ignoring whom? JUXTAPOSITION: The arrangement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side or in similar narrative moments for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development. See also antithesis, bathos, foil, mirror passage, and mirror scene.
A Sport and a Pastime Bathos: Bathos is excessive sentimentality or ludicrousness. Bathos is an unsuccessful attempt to elicit pity or sorrow from the reader. Bathos also results when elevated language and style are used inappropriately in treating a commonplace subject. Bathos may also be used intentionally for a humorous or satiric effect. The juxtaposition of the elevated with the trivial is an anticlimax.
A Sport and a Pastime Anticlimax: An anticlimax is an effect that spoils a climax. Used deliberately, anticlimax is a stylistic device involving a witty descent from something serious or lofty to something frivolous or trivial.
A Sport and a Pastime Foil: A foil is a character who, by contrast, points up the qualities or characteristics of another character. For example, a foolish character sets a wise character’s wisdom in a stronger light.
A Sport and a Pastime Mirror Passage: A mirror passage is a section of a story that might not contribute directly to the plot (i.e., it contains characters divorced from the main narrative, and the events it deals with do not further the action) but which does reflect the basic concerns of the work in terms of theme, action, or symbolism or which seems to echo another scene, image, or situation.