Introduction & Overview of The Eye by Paul Bowles

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The Eye Summary & Study Guide Description

The Eye Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Eye by Paul Bowles.

Paul Bowles's short story "The Eye," written in 1976, initially appeared in the Missouri Review in 1978 and was reprinted in the Best American Stories of 1979 and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (1981). It is included in Bowles's story collection Midnight Mass (1981) and in the Stories of Paul Bowles (2001). Like many of Bowles's stories, "The Eye" concerns encounters between foreigners, in this case a Canadian man and the narrator, and Moroccan culture. Bowles uses the encounter to underscore the gap between the belief systems of the West and the Arab world, and to highlight the inscrutability of human existence. As an expatriate who spent most of his life in Tangier, Bowles is intimately familiar with his subject matter.

The story itself, only two thousand words, is accessible and rewarding, giving Western readers a glimpse into a culture with which most are unfamiliar. An unnamed narrator's curiosity is aroused when he hears about the death of a man he has never met, and he sets out to investigate the circumstances behind the man's death. Bowles's spare style and straightforward prose mask a more complicated structure, as the narrator, also an expatriate, tells a story about his attempt to understand another story. The title derives from the spell that the Canadian's Moroccan cook believes he cast on her daughter. Critics have commented on ideas of morality, intention, and crime in "The Eye."

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This section contains 232 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Eye from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.