A Certain Type of Tension

While reading On Craft by Susan Steinberg, the lines “I have overused the semicolon. Because it links clauses that desperately want to be together. And in my stories, I often want to convey a certain type of intimacy. By which I mean a certain type of tension. A division” particularly struck me. The seems to be a contradiction–creating intimacy by creating tension and division. However, as I thought about it more, I realized that Steinberg’s Spectacle is ripe with contradictions that bring us closer to the narrator. For instance, the narrator(s) constant struggle with gender performance gives us a greater understanding of the narrator. The contradiction here is society’s expectations of gender roles, and the narrator’s disagreement with them. This issue is certainly filled with tension and division, but the narrator(s) embrace it, giving us a peek into their mind and their ways of thinking. Another contradiction that is seen frequently in Spectacle is the narrator’s anger with her father over his infidelity contrasted with the narrator’s own infidelity. Despite the narrator’s hatred of her father’s betrayal, she (they?) frequently creates situations that mimic her father’s actions. This cycle is perpetuated by division and tension, and creates a closeness between the narrator and her father and the narrator and the reader.


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