AWAKE OR ASLEEP by Alix Shulman


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Whether one is really awake or asleep is a thought that occurs not infrequently in a dream, seldom if ever in a waking state, but Sally not only wakes ""up wondering if she were really awake,"" she returns to the thought once she's forgotten it and clings to it until a final race to school. Apart from the basic unlikelihood, the notion has possibilities but the application overextends them: ""If she really were awake, wouldn't she know it? And here she was not knowing it. . . or not knowing if she knew it. . . or not knowing if she knew she knew it. . . or not knowing if she knew if she knew if she knew it."" Forms are appropriately abstracted, unindividuated, the design is appropriately free-floating; but there is in reality nothing worth looking at, and only at the end do the pictures literally or figuratively extend the text. Altogether it's more interesting to talk about than to experience.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1971
Publisher: Young Scot/Addison-Wesley