1976 - Jeffty is Five

The SPIDER Symposion: in-depth discussion of specific Ellison stories and works.

Moderators: Moderator, Jan, Duane

User avatar
Jon Stover
Banned
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:52 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Postby Jon Stover » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:45 am

God knows I'm not rereading this thread to check, but I don't recall anyone stating that Jeffty 'actually' has Down syndrome or anything else -- just that the story may cause some people to make connections between real-world afflictions and the plights they cause, and the situation in the story, without necessitating a one-to-one comparison (ie. Jeffty's affliction really is autism).

Cheers, Jon

User avatar
Victoria Silverwolf
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:52 am
Location: Chattanooga Tennessee USA

Postby Victoria Silverwolf » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:27 pm

Jon Stover wrote:God knows I'm not rereading this thread to check, but I don't recall anyone stating that Jeffty 'actually' has Down syndrome or anything else -- just that the story may cause some people to make connections between real-world afflictions and the plights they cause, and the situation in the story, without necessitating a one-to-one comparison (ie. Jeffty's affliction really is autism).

Cheers, Jon


Oh, yes, I agree that nobody here is silly enough to think that Jeffty can be "explained" as having some kind of physical or mental problem. I guess what I was trying to say is that it never occurred to me to even slightly associate Jeffty's situation with such things. If anything, I see Jeffty as gifted.
Reality is a crutch for people who can't face up to science fiction.

User avatar
Jon Stover
Banned
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 8:52 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Postby Jon Stover » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:39 pm

Victoria Silverwolf wrote:
Jon Stover wrote:God knows I'm not rereading this thread to check, but I don't recall anyone stating that Jeffty 'actually' has Down syndrome or anything else -- just that the story may cause some people to make connections between real-world afflictions and the plights they cause, and the situation in the story, without necessitating a one-to-one comparison (ie. Jeffty's affliction really is autism).

Cheers, Jon


Oh, yes, I agree that nobody here is silly enough to think that Jeffty can be "explained" as having some kind of physical or mental problem. I guess what I was trying to say is that it never occurred to me to even slightly associate Jeffty's situation with such things. If anything, I see Jeffty as gifted.


Yeah, my post was more of a blanket response to you and Ben, not meant to suggest that either of you were wrong for not reading it that way but just to note that it can be read that way without negating all other readings. And it can be read that way and your way at the same time -- Jeffty is gifted, and Jeffty is an exhausting gift.

Cheers, Jon

DVG
Posts: 191
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:08 pm

Postby DVG » Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:59 pm

I never much cared for this story, although the title is a minor classic in its own right.

I expect everyone is nostalgic for different things--and Jeffty's world, and by extention, inasmuch as a five-year old posseses such a thing, worldview, simply don't interest me.

Th narrator always struck me as being more than a bit selfish in his relationship to Jeffty. Who wouldn't like to return to a special time in their childhood on a daily basis? To quote the immortal Margo Channing--"I wouldn't like."

I'll have a martini. Very dry.

alexanderthesoso
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:42 pm

Re: HARLAN TELLS YOU WHAT THE ENDING IS

Postby alexanderthesoso » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:01 am

Harlan Ellison wrote:
13) Donny hears rock music froim upstairs. At first it doesn't register.

14) Then there is a crackle, and the lights dim. I've explained to you who don't remember this kind of thing happening, why it used to happen. One of you made reference to it as being in my introduction to this story in TROUBLEMAKERS. The music has stopped up there.

15) Now--an instant too late--Donny realizes what has happened. The parents sit. The husband knows what Leona has done, and there is nothing to say. Donny falls twice scrambling up the stairs.

Now, here is what Jeffty's mother did, and why she did it, and why it is tragic and worthy of your understanding and compassion.

16) She did not kill the child.

17) She did not NOT kill the child.

18 ) Jeffty has been electrocuted in the bathtub.



I hope this helps you.

Yr. pal, Harlan



Wow. I completely missed that. I assumed that the lights dimming was an aftermath of the death of Jeffty of some kind. I assumed that because the radio was actually CAPABLE of playing modern rock, that Jeffty was already dead. It just took the power surge to pop realization into donny's mind.

Live and learn.

I've been making my own comparisons the last few years to Donny's use of Jeffty, and the tendency lately to take my generations childhood, and repackage it and resell it to us. We CAN have our cake and eat it too, these days.

David W. Pareis
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:06 pm

Postby David W. Pareis » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:48 am

I never really bought Harlan's "explaination" of the ending.

shagin
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:58 pm
Location: Bremerton, WA

Postby shagin » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:15 pm

I enjoy this story every time I read it, although it isn't one I'll let my oldest son read any time soon.

When I first read "Jefty", I was a teenager absolutely convinced that I would never have children. Didn't want them, no thanks, you can keep them to yourselves.

The first time I read "Jefty" after having children of my own, the real value of the story (to me) had yet to sink in. It took another two readings over the years before I realized how much I cared for, and empathized with, Jefty's parents. Jefty had the magic of childhood; Donnie sought to recapture his childhood; Jefty's parents were trapped. Whether they did/did not kill him, did/did not allow him to die, did/did not do any number of things, they were the prisoners of Jefty's perceptions and interactions with reality. Donnie would have to contend with the end of innocence all over again. Jefty's parents lost more than innocence and could never really make up for lost time.

As for Jefty having any sort of condition or disease, that never came across to me in the story, either, for which I am quite grateful. It would have detracted from the magic.

Then again, I could happily cold cock the insistently well-meaning families and on-lookers who see children with special needs as being a blessing, a chance to "hold onto the innocence that is God's gift".

shagin

User avatar
paquinero
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:50 am
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Contact:

Postby paquinero » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:10 pm

I just read it today. Beautiful story. Beautiful, nostalgic, sad, all at the same time.

Thank you, Harlan.


Return to “Literary Symposium”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest