Eating Poetry Characters

Eating Poetry Character List

The Poetry Eater

He has no name, but it would hardly matter if he did. The central character in this strange and surreal visit to a library is not like any real person most people and the very fact of his strangeness would make any name either too normal or not abnormal enough. In addition to quite literally eating poetry—the ink from the pages of the volumes of verse he’s consumer blot his lips—the second thing we find out about this guy places him into the realm of the not-too-ordinary. He is a happy. He is a genuinely happy person. So much that he definitively asserts the happiness that he enjoys as a result of his unusual diet is incomparable. Of course, that happiness may be just be the delusion of a madman. Just when you might be at the point where his eating the pages from books comes to be seen as odd, but essentially harmless to others, from out of nowhere he starts talking about barking dogs and then seems to take on the behavior of a dog himself as moves around on hands and knees and attempts to lick the hand of another person.

The Librarian

That other person is the librarian and though by the end she has succumbed to the nightmarish mania of the narrator, her introduction is without question the normal element of the entire narrative. She wears a dress with pockets—or, at least, made with some capacity for hiding her hands. She arrives at the sight of the library patron eating books with a confluence of various emotions such as might be expected; in her case a little sadness mixed with disbelief and apprehension. It remains unclear exactly why the librarian winds up crying and stamping her feet before screaming in terror at the sight of a man acting like a dog or even possibly having turned into one. Such explanations are left for each reader to decide.

The Dogs

What is even murkier is the status of the dogs in the story. We have only our deranged poetry eater to count on for their description and some of the details of that description are dodgy at best; apparently their legs are on fire. The librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep in way coincident with the arrival of the dogs, but there is nothing to suggest that she is actually reacting to the dogs. She may well be weeping over the sight she has just witness of a man eating the books in her library. Then there is the curious ending in which the man himself gets on his knees to lick her hand like a dog before romping around like a puppy. Maybe the dogs actually do exist or maybe they exist only in the poetry eater’s mind. The real questions is whether there is any difference.

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