Study Questions for "Music Lessons"

Once more, begin your inquiry into the nature of the story by considering narration, setting, and character. Then proceed to consider how each story might contribute to an understanding of slipstream as a genre or literary movement. Here are a few study questions about "Music Lessons" to further prepare you for our discussion; as you consider the story, also think about what features it might have in common with other stories that we have covered.

"Music Lessons" [2004] by Douglas Lain

  1. What is the function of the Q & A sections of this story? Are the questioner and answerer the same in each of these sections?
  2. On pages 225-26, the musician protagonist explains "phase shifting" in his musical compositions. Does phase shifting in electronic music compositions somehow also explain the narrative structure of this story? Is the narrative form of the story what makes it an example of slipstream?
  3. Musical compositions are often structured by musical themes or motifs--recurring sound images. What motifs appear in this story? How many recurring images can you list?
  4. By the end of the story, what do we learn has been happening to the protagonist? Who is questioning him in some of the scarier Q & A sessions and what does this situation have to do with the book, Communion [page 241].

Purple People Eater  Johnny B. Goode  John Lennon UFO  

Voyager Golden Record   Gumby  Boo Boo Bear  Shroud of Turin  Communion