Friday, July 1, 2011
THE MAN WHO SHOUTED TERESA
One night a man stood in the street shouting at the top stories of the block: ”Teresa!” And then another man came to help him. They even counted to three and then shouted: “Tereeeesaaa!” Meanwhile a small group was passing by and saw the two men shouting. They joined them and counted to three and then everybody together shouted: “Te-ree-saaa!” Every now and then somebody new passing by joined them . Around twenty people there helped him shout Teresa. They even thought of a way to shout efficiently-- ’T’ should be shouted low and long, the ‘R’ high and long, the ‘sa’ low and short. Suddenly one of them asked him; ’Are you sure she’s at home? ’ The man answered ‘No.’ Another one said:’ Did you forget the key?’ The man replied he didn't live there. And he was asked who lived in the top stories and why he was standing down below calling Teresa. The man said that they could call another name or try somewhere else. “It is no big deal.“ He felt embarrassed at that moment and said so . Finally, someone said they should try one last time and then everybody would go home. They did. Still no one answered. So everyone was leaving , including the man. Just when the man was turning into a square, he heard somebody still calling: ’Tee-ree-sa!’
The description above is from the two page story named “The Man Who Shouted Teresa”, written by Italo Calvino in 1943 , at age twenty. Even now it is still humorous and original. In this absurd story, the man initates some ridiculous behaviour , and more and more people follow him blindly without knowing the reason . Even when they had realized the truth, they still wanted to try the last time! However ‘Teresa’ even doesn't exist! So what is the point for them doing this? How ironic it is ! Calvino intentionally has his character dismiss the guy first who questioned the situation as having a “ freckly face” , and implies he is the only conscience in our society, so he will not be liked or be welcomed by those "initiators. " Blind obedience is not only found in this story but also in our history and real life . For instance, in the Second World War, weren't those who believed in Hitler’s leadership or the Japanese government just like those followers who shouted Teresa ? They just believed in them, but didn't really know the reason.
This story is interesting , but it also cruelly revels the ignorance and stupidity of human beings . Because the story never ends, like a endless circle, there will always be someone stubborn standing there trying to call Teresa , like in the end of the story, and this person will replace the man shouting first, and more and more people will join him. Thus, he will also be replaced.