Views of My Father Weeping

by Donald Barthelme

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

"View of My Father Weeping" is a short story by American author Donald Barthelme, first published in the New Yorker in 1969. It is a story which makes use of the short form (including only a few dozen paragraphs), and describes the recollections of the narrator, whose father was killed by the carriage of an aristocrat. The narrator assembles anecdotes from passersby to determine who was responsible for his father's death. These witnesses, as well as the coachmen, are the story's characters (in addition to the narrator).

The first witness is a young girl, from whom the narrator learns that the passenger of the carriage looked like an aristocrat. The next witness, named Miranda, confirms this.

Lars Bang is the driver of the carriage. According to another witness, this character is a liar, and can't be trusted. According to another character, he was drunk when the narrator's father's death occurred. The unreliability of the witnesses, including Lars (as well as, it is suggested, of the narrator) is a major one of the story's themes.

The final, and obvious, character, is the narrator's father. At times in the story, it is suggested that the man whose death the narrator witnesses may not even be his own. The narrator remembers him in strange situations, and so the reader gains insights into the character of the father by means of patchy memories.

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