Marginal Marginalia



I recently picked up a copy of Steinbeck’s The Pearl at the local Sally Ann and upon a cursory flip-through noticed several faded notes scribbled here and there by a previous reader. It happens — an offense I’m guilty of myself and who can really complain when it’s a fifty cent book? Not I. Best case scenario, there’s some bonus amusement to be had, but I had no idea what lay in store.

“Kathy Dillon” was scrawled inside the front cover and I can only assume the rest to be her handiwork, since no other names appear and the script throughout bears a resemblance to this signature. So godspeed to you Ms. Dillon wherever you are.

Througout the body of the novel are the seemingly obvious exclamations and randomly underlined words as made by a confused, faceless student struggling to assign meaning to the text, or rather, to copy word for word what their professor wants them to.

But upon closer inspection, these are different. Well, not different, just really dumb and really obvious, some bordering on parody. In particular, and most noteworthy, is the final note — the kicker, if you will.

Where earlier scratchings were at least vaguely useful in an abstract way (I can only assume, really), like “Theme can’t change the structure without risk” — whatever that means, the final sentence of the novel is framed by square brackets and tagged with the following piece of the sublime:


Damn straight, Kathy Dillon. Damn straight.


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