Behind the Blue Curtain by Steven Millhauser Essay

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In the short story, Behind the Blue Curtain by Steven Millhauser, the protagonist is a young boy whose journey begins w

In the short story, Behind the Blue Curtain by Steven Millhauser, the protagonist is a young boy whose journey begins with a trip to the movie theater one Saturday afternoon. Although the child attends a feature film each weekend this Saturday is a bit different; this weekend he must go alone, rather than with his father as per usual.
Instead of a material treasure, the young boy seeks the treasure of a greater knowledge, enlightenment. The reader is informed of this through a first person point of view; the boy’s, “My father was never wrong, but I felt he was trying to shield me from darker knowledge.
The
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This eagerness becomes apparent when he fails to warn his parents of the “danger in this sudden violation of the usual.” This makes the young boy innocent, yet ready to embark on his journey. The protagonist’s call comes unexpectedly when his father cannot go to the movie with him, for his father “had to drive to the university on business.” Similarly, his call is a product of coincidence, as neither his father, nor his mother or best friend can join him in a quest he must make on his own. The journey which the young narrator takes introduces him to a variety of new things, one being the female he meets just before leaving the world behind the blue curtain. This character can be seen as the other for a multitude of reasons. The first is that she seems to be one of very few females that the narrator has come into contact with, an opposite of him. For example, the woman is associated with his mother. Secondly, she is seen as the other because it is the protagonist’s meeting with her that leads to his treasure, a greater knowledge. Without this experience, the young boy would have not come to such enlightenment. Also, while the boy physically exists, the woman is only a figment of his imagination, and
“becomes themselves through the act of being witnessed.” The young boy sees himself as small, among the larger than life form of the woman. The two are also polar opposites in that she exists in the fantasy world of the movie, the boys watches
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