The Knife Thrower Summary
Steven Millhauser

Everything you need to understand or teach The Knife Thrower by Steven Millhauser.

  • The Knife Thrower Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Short Guide
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The Knife Thrower Summary

The knife thrower can be seen as a cult figure for this community, a momentary visitor who incites strange and deeply felt emotions. Like many cult figures, part of his appeal is the offer of an identity of sorts from association with him. He gives out identifying marks that can be used by the receiver as a testament to their belonging somewhere, that they are brave and willing to risk injury for something worth doing.

His followers are "many, young women especially, who longed to be wounded by the master and to bear his scar proudly."

This is reiterated during the performance itself as many offer themselves to be marked: "then there were other hands, young bodies straining forward, eager." The people who are marked are new members going through initiation, which is demonstrated by the assistant who is transformed from purity, marked by gleaming white and silver gown...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The The Knife Thrower Study Pack contains:

The Knife Thrower Short Guide