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Bald! by Richard Selzer

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Courtney Caulkins

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of Bald! by Richard Selzer

The entire essay is an extended metaphor: in our society loss of hair represents loss of youth, virality, masculinity, and sanity.
Selzer's purpose in "Bald!"
Selzer's Writing
Selzer retired from his surgical career in 1985 to focus on his writing
introductory tone is dramatic and extremely sarcastic
Richard Selzer
Born in Troy, New York
Bald! by Richard Selzer
Selzer's Medical Career
His writing was significantly influenced by his job as a surgeon
"Now you hold the comb aloft at the window, through which indifferent morning bestows light in whose lidless glare you see the carnage of the night. Desperate lips tell the mournful numbers. Twenty-eight! Twenty-eight corpselets hanging limp between the teeth. And even as you watch, twenty-nine and thirty, made airborne by some tardy gust, rock sinkward."

parents Gertrude and Julius Selzer
1953- M.D from Albany Medical College
worked at Yale University as a professor of surgery
Spent 2 years in the Army
Knife Song Korea (2009) won three awards
He wrote mainly collections of short stories, essays, and memoirs
His first collection of short stories was about surgeries
his other book titles include:
The Doctor Stories
Notes on the Art of Surgery
Letters to a Young Doctor
"My life has been a blend of blood and ink"

-Richard Selzer

His Writing Style
tone changes in the final paragraphs
ends with a call for reform
Satirical Strategies
"It is baldness that rages thus."
"The comb trembles!"
"Frantic fingers forage among the survivors."
"In lieu of hair, it is the brain must be washed"
Absalom (hanged by his hair)
Samson (cut his hair)
Rameses II
Julius Caesar
Selzer satirizes society's concerns over physical appearance and aging
"Long Hair, chief of the Crows, possessed the bravest follicles of all"
"Well then, obtain by any means practical, the bladder of a hog..."
"You're fingertips speculate back and forth upon the apex of your noggin"
It would appear that male pattern
baldness has set in
his hair, at an alarming pace
running away from his face
he's losing his virility
and now his masculinity
has been compromised
and his libido down-sized

Not for me, not for me, not for me, uh-uh
not for me, not for me, heaven forbid
it's not for me you understand

Tests the idea that going bald and aging are things that should be feared
Full transcript