On Bores by A.G. Gardiner
In On Bores by A.G. Gardiner we have the theme of sympathy, desperation, perseverance, awareness, alienation and ignorance. Taken from his Windfalls collection the reader realises after reading the essay that Gardiner may be exploring the theme of sympathy. Gardiner himself appears to have sympathy for both Blossom and Trip. Though he prefers to keep his distance from both men he still nonetheless has an element of sympathy for both men’s desperation to be involved in conversation. A conversation that though it may lack originality or humour longs for a home. Gardiner also suggests that some of the greats of literature may also have been bores. Something that is more believable should those very same people have attempted to entertain others with their literary efforts. It is as though the conversation would be very one-sided and as such not of much interest to others. Nobody wishes to spend their evening listening to a person talking about their work or the merits or their work for the entire evening. This in reality is sure to bore even the kindest of ears. There is also a sense that Trip is desperate to find a circle in which he can share his stories. Though none may necessarily be forthcoming due to others being aware of Trip’s motives and actions.
Gardiner also suggests that humour as an element of conversation is essential. Unfortunately for Blossom and Trip neither man is entertaining and as such have been cast aside as bores. It is also interesting that neither man seems to take the fact that nobody wishes to talk to them personal. They will wait regardless till they can start a conversation. Which may leave some readers to suspect that neither man lacks perseverance. They will spend the evening, particularly Trip, waiting to catch somebody’s eye so that they can engage with them. It may also be important that Gardiner looks upon both men with fondness. He does not have a bad word to say about either man except for the fact that they are bores and lack the ability to entertain. If anything Gardiner has again got sympathy for both men and an awareness of how difficult it may be for them while they visit the club. There is also a sense that both Blossom and Trip remain blissfully unaware of the circumstances they find themselves in. That nobody wants to listen to them share their stories.
After all at no stage in the story does either man give up the chance to relay a story to others. What is lacking and what makes them a bore in Gardiner’s eyes is the fact that when it comes to conversation both men lack humour. A key element in Gardiner’s eyes to telling a good story. Whether this is true or not is another thing. However humour can help to keep an audience engrossed and as such the same audience might like to hear more of the stories that have been told to them by the same man. Unfortunately this is not the case for Blossom and Trip (and others). It is also possible that Blossom and Trip may be sharing their stories with the wrong audience. One that has already judged them to be bores and as such distances themselves from both men. Though as previously mentioned Blossom or Trip do not take such alienation personal. They are too busy looking for an audience to share their stories with that they will inevitably find one. People may only listen once but this may be considered to be enough for Blossom and Trip. Their motto might be that there are always people who can be found to listen to their stories.
It might also be significant that Gardiner is prepared to hide his feelings when it comes to bores. An example being that Gardiner, should Blossom die, is prepared to write a letter to Blossom’s family stating how fine a man Blossom actually was. It is as though Gardiner is being deliberately dishonest in order to be polite. He does not wish to hurt Blossom (or Trip) though at the same time he is not prepared to confront either man and tell them that they are bores. The benefit of which might be that both men would reshape or restyle their stories in order to be more entertaining. In reality both Blossom and Trip are living in ignorance. Unaware of the fact that they bore those in the club. Something which is not advantageous to either man. At least if they were told they were bores they could change. Should change even be necessary. The reader left suspecting that if Gardiner and others were more patient everybody might feel satisfied.