"Bright Morning" by Jeffrey Ford, initially published in The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories [2002]

  1. We began the course with Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," and, here, Ford presents us with a narrator, himself a writer, who is obsessed with an obscure work by Kafka. Is Ford's choice of Kafka a self-conscious attempt to identify himself as a participant in the developing genre of slipstream?
  2. Kafka's story, "Bright Morning," does not actually exist; it is a fiction created by Ford to support his plot. How does Ford incorporate realistic detail to complicate the relation between fiction and reality here?
  3. What references to actual historical figures and to known published works can you identify in Ford's story?
  4. Why, according to this story, did Kafka write "Bright Morning"?
  5. Who is telling this story? If you briefly review Ford's biography at his website, then look over the listed accomplishments of our narrator [bottom 170], I think you'll see considerable similarity between the narrator's and Ford's careers. This induces us to associate the narrator with the author. How does the appearance of Ford in the story complicate this notion?
  6. How is the last line of the story an iterative moment? That is, where else does part of that line appear in the story?