Cheque Book Story

I saw this months ago on MetaFilter but forgot to post about it. It is a story written by cheques. ‘Ordeal By Cheque’ by Walter Crue was tracked down in pdf form. I guess a contemporary version would be ‘Ordeal By ATM Receipt’.

Citation on pdf:

Crue, W. (1932 [renewed 1960, 1988]). Ordeal by Cheque. Vanity Fair. Cited in Vacca, R. T., & Vacca, J. L. (1999). Content area reading: Literacy and learning across the curriculum (6th ed.). New York: Longman.

4 Responses to “Cheque Book Story”

  1. 1 Jeremy Douglass

    Interesting idea. I suppose that narrative by cheque is a special form of epistolary narrative - envelopes only, so to speak (the message content is a number). Transactional literature? It is definitely vector rather than coordinate based - where the message goes, leaving implicit why.

    ATM receipts might be a good contemporary version. Also: ebay / Amazon / Paypal transaction lists. Also, “Ordeal by Feedback” - Amazon or other commerce network feedback comments from buyers or sellers doing all the work of narrating, although this might violate the spirit of the transactional narrative form.

  2. 2 Bob Smith

    I would love to have an explanation to this story. Also who wrote it? Is it Walter or Wuther Crue? I have seen it both ways. I have the actual story and it says Wuther Crue on it, but most of these web sites have it as Walter.

  3. 3 Medina

    I too would love to have the author’s summation of what he was trying to get across, but I doubt it exists. To me and my students, each narrative created from analysis of the checks is interpretive and unique. This is probably what Wuther Crue was shooting for when he created the story.

    I have found–by Googling–many interpretations, even a pretty creative You Tube video using South Park-esque characters, but I have found nothing definitive from the author himself.

    It seems that the presence of three or more women (Daisy, Flossie, and Marie–who may or may not be Junior’s ex-wife) and the huge amounts given to them are what causes the most confusion for my eighth graders.

    Love to hear from other professionals about Ordeal By Cheque.


  4. 4 Lil-Wayne Quotes

    The narrative that has been created is special and can be interpretted in many different ways. I believe that the Ordeal by Cheque gives us a better understanding of what the author was going through in his personal life.

    Lil-wayne used to say that its all in the literature, the words and the wisdom. For more on him you can go to

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