Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

by Edgar Allen Poe, William Saroyan, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:29 am

Without comparing it to the other two stories, what was your impression of Burial at Sea?

Did you like it?
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby ladylinn » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:30 pm

I printed off the "Burial At Sea" story to read later when I had more time. When I read it - I went back to see if I missed a page or two. :perplexed:
Is this what Hunter is referring to in his letter to Rogue about shortening his story?
I liked the story and it captured my attention from the beginning. I find stories with no conclusion perplexing. Guess we are to draw our own conclusion and have the story end the way we see fit. Interesting to say the least or have I missed the point completely??? :-/

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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby shadowydog » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:02 pm

No Ladylinn, I think you are right on target. Hunter was, in my opinion, a part of the school of writing where things were rough, raw, and to the point - even if the point was a mystery. Right up Johnny's alley. :biggrin:

Though I think :perplexed: he was telling a tale of a guy who found himself in a world he couldn't control and lost control and then fled in a sense having buried himself at sea........If that makes any sense. :perplexed:
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:21 pm

I did double check all versions of the story online just now (there are about 4). And they all end the same way.

I think with short stories, they can end at places that would be unacceptable for novels. And being that this was a short story, I think it was a good place to end. He fled the situation because he was hurt very deeply by his wife.

I do understand what you are saying, ladylinn, about feeling like something was missing, though. And for me, I felt the body of the story was lacking. So I'm wondering if he had to cut some things out of the middle.

Shadowydog, your analogy for the title has made me think more about it. And I'm wondering if he buried his past life there (his marriage) and was moving on to a new life without her--maybe regaining self instead of burying it.

Back to the ending, I'd like to comment on his use of the term "Negro". It says something about the times.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Buster » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:39 pm

I found this story slightly annoying at first. Typos always grate, and the sections about the boat didn't ring true to me.

When I started to think of it as a movie, my opinion changed. There is a lot of room for character interpretation, and the ending is (as it should be-) the most important part of the story.

It does seem choppily edited, though a lot of exposition would be needed to allow it to flow. For a story that relies on relatively small events for much of the characters' motivations, it seems somewhat abrupt.

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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:35 pm

I wasn't sure what to expect from the title, I didn't know if we were going to have a murder on our hands or what exactly was going to happen so it did hold my interest. I agree the characters needed a little more fleshing out and the ending was abrupt and unexpected but I think it worked. My interpretation of the title was the he buried his marriage at sea.

Buster, the idea of visualizing it helped me too as I think actors would bring levels to the characters that we don't see on the page.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Storygirl » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:17 pm

This is the first time I have read anything from Hunter S. Thompson, and I did enjoy it. It did leave so many questions unanswered, but that's life, isn't it? How often do we find ourselves in situations which leave us with all questions and no answers. Similarly, when we look at events beyond ourselves, whether they involve people close to us, or from a much wider circle, how often do we really have ALL the information which could lead us to correct conclusions about How? Who? Why? What? Where? When? etc.?

I suspect it's because we like to have more information in order to form opinions that we wonder just how savagely this piece has been pruned before publication - for example, when Anne says she is sorry for what happened in the afternoon, just what is she referring to? - what happened to him, which we know about, or what happened during the time he was asleep, about which we know nothing?

I like title... as I read the story the first time, I had forgotten the title. Then I went back to have a look, and it set me thinking. I agree with others who have said that he buried his past life and his marriage. I also think perhaps that he may have had to bury his image of who he thought he was - the whole experience had taught him that he wasn't quite the man's man and in control of every situaion that I get the impression he thought he was. He also had to bury his image of who he thought his wife was. I felt it a very appropriate title.

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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:42 pm

Storygirl, your comment about Anne saying she was sorry for what happened made me think that I would like to hear her side of the story as to why she did what she did.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby trygirl » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:54 pm

I enjoyed the story but it did feel as if something was missing and incomplete. And I almost expected a horror tale. I was sure the man would end up murdering his wife and the captain. So when he only abandoned ship, I was relieved about it. I think you're all right, he buries the old life at sea, along with the marriage. She is officially dead to him. I also feel he experiences an inner death, a passing of the soul. We all know he will never be the same. The experience has changed a rational man.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby shadowydog » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:51 pm

Buster wrote:I found this story slightly annoying at first. Typos always grate, and the sections about the boat didn't ring true to me.

When I started to think of it as a movie, my opinion changed. There is a lot of room for character interpretation, and the ending is (as it should be-) the most important part of the story.

It does seem choppily edited, though a lot of exposition would be needed to allow it to flow. For a story that relies on relatively small events for much of the characters' motivations, it seems somewhat abrupt.


Funny you should mention movie. All the time I was reading the story, I kept picturing the captain from the movie Jaws. :lol:
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby gemini » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:33 pm

The story was interesting because it showed how his suspicions slowly worried him into a state where he found himself even less able to do his end of the work. Looking back at the story, he felt belittled and bettered by the Captain for his lack of seamanship. From the start the Caption took command and demoted him to the lowest crewmate. His wife lost faith in him and allied with the strongest male. At first I thought it was just his suspicions or feeling of inferiority in the situation and not that his wife was guilty of seeing the Captain. At the end when she crept to the Captains cabin, I felt as he did, that his marriage died at sea. If was strange that he cut himself cutting the line to the dinghy and it would look like he was injured and he left the dingy loose so it would be found without him. It really leaves one curious as to what the wife does when she finds he is missing.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:04 am

Buster wrote:I found this story slightly annoying at first. Typos always grate, and the sections about the boat didn't ring true to me.

The typos made me crazy. But this one had less than the other versions. That's why I picked it. It appeared to me that it was cleaned up.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:26 am

Storygirl wrote:This is the first time I have read anything from Hunter S. Thompson, and I did enjoy it.

In my opinion, this story is quite a departure from what I have read by Hunter. That was the reason I chose this piece to discuss. I never would have guessed in a million years that Hunter S. Thompson had written it. So I want to hear what everyone else thinks about this.
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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby ladylinn » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:44 am

I am not sure how this story fits into the time-line of Hunter's writings - but I think perhaps Hunter is making a statement to his publishers about short/short stories and what they leave unanswered. Hunter seemed to always be his own self in all he did. (A basis of a friendship with someone we all know and admire?)

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Re: Hunter Question #1 - Burial at Sea

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:26 pm

I thought the writing was very good, I really got pulled into the story and invested in the characters quickly and Hunter kept a lot of suspense going...... and building........and building. I sat in a parking lot today and finished reading the story when I should have been going into the restaurant to meet my friends for lunch. :biggrin: I am not sure the Laurenson character was "true", he turned out to be kind of a wimp, but I guess he had to be the way he was for the story to work the way it did.

I was really distressed by the ending, not at all what I expected and I was disappointed that it ended the way it did. It was depressing, in a way. And I found myself wondering what the point was to write such a well crafted short story only to have it end like that! :banghead:

Ok, now that I went back and read what the rest of you replied, I agree that the "middle" was lacking some detail -- what his wife meant by "sorry" I took to mean that she was sorry for the humiliation he suffered as a result of his behavior during the storm. And maybe my feeling that the Laurenson character wasn't "true" came from the same place the rest of you identified as some of the story being missing. I think the title refers to the burial of his self-image as well as the loss of his relationship with his wife.


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