October 17th, 2006
English 10 - E
A Few Notes for Orpheus
By: Don Bailey
In the short story "A Few Notes for Orpheus" Don Bailey portrays the protagonist, Jake as an isolated, resentful, and hypocritical man.
As the story begins, Jake is sitting alone in his room, living in self-isolation. He is always "telling [himself] that [he] likes [his] privacy, although sometimes he feels too alone. The only contact Jake has with the outside world is through his telephone, and as he receives a phone call from his mother, a woman who he hasn't spoken to in a long time, he wishes "[he] had disconnected" his phone, or "never had [it] installed". Jake is almost glad to hear her voice, but assumes that something is wrong because she never called him. Jake is uninformed about what goes on within his family. His mother has "never once mentioned cigarettes that [he] could remember", cigarettes that would later result in his father developing cancer.
Jake also has never made the effort to re-establish a bond with those who he has lost contact with, such as his mother, father, wife, or daughter.
Jake resents the fact that he is so isolated but doesn't want to take the initiative to change his lifestyle. He resents how neglectful he has been of his daughter, Bernice, and resentful that he has never been able to live up to his father's expectations as a child. When Jake brings Bernice along to finally meet her grandfather, she is effortlessly accepted by him. Jake has always tried so hard to be accepted by his father, but all of his attempts had either gone unnoticed like how "the old man hadn't been around when [he was awarded with a] certificate [in Red Cross life-saving]",