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Nabokov “good readers and good writers”
“We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know. When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other words, other branches of knowledge.”

Nabokov “good readers and good writers” 2
“the combination of the artistic and the scientific. The enthusiastic artist alone is apt to be too subjective in his attitude towards a book, and so a scientific coolness of judgment will temper the intuitive heat. If, however, a would-be reader is utterly devoid of passion and patience—of an artist’s passion and a scientist’s patience—he will hardly enjoy great literature.”

Nabokov “good readers and good writers” 3
“It seems to me that the good formula to test the quality of a novel is, in the long run, a merging of the precision of poetry and the intuition of science.”

Frost “Education by Poetry”
“how shall a man go through college without being marked for taste and judgment?…they don’t know when they will be fooled by a metaphor, an analogy, a parable. And metaphor is, of course, what we are talking about. Education by poetry is education by metaphor”

Frost “Education by Poetry” 1
Poetry begins in trivial metaphors…poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thin and meaning another”

Frost “Education by Poetry” 2
“We still ask boys in college to think, and we don’t show them what thinking is; we seldom tell them it is just putting this and that together; it is just saying one thing in terms of another”

Frost “After Apple Picking”
“pane of glass”

Nabokov “good readers and good writers” 4
“In reading, one should notice and fondle the details”

Stephen Johnson “Metaphor Monopoly”
“The wizards at Microsoft have long understood how visual metaphors can be used to consolidate power while also making computers friendlier. Even if the Justice Department’s latest crusade succeeds only in making explicit the mixed nature of this blessing, it will be doing us a great service.”

Stephen Johnson “Metaphor Monopoly”
“Ms. Reno alleges that “Microsoft is unlawfully taking advantage of its Windows monopoly to protect and extend that monopoly and undermine consumer choice.””

Stephen Johnson “Metaphor Monopoly”
“Look at it this way. Imagine that Microsoft controls the market for office desks, and it is also a major telephone maker. One day it announces that all its desks will come with built-in phones-thereby putting all the other phone manufacturers out of business.”

Lawrence Perrine “The nature of proof in the interpretation of poetry”
“The essential difference between a metaphor and a literary symbol is that a metaphor means something else than what it is, a literary symbol, means something more than what it is. “

Lawrence Perrine “The nature of proof in the interpretation of poetry”
“A correct interpretation, if the poem is a successful one, must be able to account satisfactorily for any detail of the poem. If it is contradicted by any detail it is wrong. Of several interpretations, the best is that which most fully explain the details of the poem without itself being contradicted by any detail”

Lawrence Perrine “The nature of proof in the interpretation of poetry”
“If more than one interpretation accounts for all details, the best is that which is most economical”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Oh Daddy cant you her something to make her stop screaming? asked Nick. No I haven’t any anesthetic” his father said. “But her screams are not important.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Why did he kill himself, Daddy? I don’t know Nick. He couldn’t stand things, I guess.”

Mary McCarthy “Settling the Colonel’s Hash”
“The sandwich and the hash were our provisional, ad hoc symbols of ourselves. But in this sense all human actions are symbolic because they represent the person who does them. If the colonel had ordered a fruit salad with whipped cream, this too would have represented him in some way; given his other traits, it would have pointed to a complexity in his character that the hash did not suggest.”

Mary McCarthy “Settling the Colonel’s Hash”
“Let me make a distinction. There are some great writers, like Joyce or Melville, who have consciously introduced symbolic elements into their work; and there are great writers who have written fables or allegories. In both cases, the writer makes it quite clear to the reader how he is to be read; only an idiot would take Pilgrims Progress for a realistic story, and even a young boy, reading Moby Dick, realizes that there is something more than whale-fishing here, though he may not be able to name what it is. But the great body of fiction contains only what I have called natural symbolism, in which selected events represent or typify a problem, a kind of society or psychology, a philosophical theory, in the same way that they do in real life. What happens to the hero becomes of the highest importance. This interpretation will only lead the reader away from the reality that the writer is trying to press on his attention. “

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“He bent over the Indian woman. She was quiet now and her eyes were closed. She looked very pale. She did not know what had become of the baby or anything. “I’ll be back in the morning,” the doctor said, standing up. “The nurse should be here from St. Ignace by noon and she’ll bring everything we need.” He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in the dressing room after a game. “That’s one for the medical journal, George,” he said. “Doing a caesarian with a jack-knife and sewing it up with nine-foot, tapered gut leaders.” Uncle George was standing against the wall, looking at his arm. “Oh, you’re a great man, all right,” he said.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“I’m terribly sorry I brought you along, Nickie,” said his father, all his postoperative exhilaration gone. “It was an awful mess to put you through.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“I don’t hear her screams, her screams aren’t important to me.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Do ladies always have such a hard time having babies?” Nick asked. “No, that was very very, exceptional.” “Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?” “Not very man, Nick.” “Do many women?” “Hardly ever.” In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die. “

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“The train went up on the track out of sight, around one of the hills of burnt timber. Nick sat down on the bundle of canvas and bedding the baggage man had pitched out of the door of the baggage car. There was no town, nothing but the rails and the burned- over country. The thirteen saloons that had lined the one street of Seney had not left a trace. The foundations of the Mansion House hotel stuck up above the ground. The stone was chipped and split by the fire. It was all that was left of the town of Seney. Even the surface had been burned off the ground.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Nick looked at the burned- over stretch of hillside, where he had expected to find the scattered houses of the town and then walked down the railroad track to the bridge over the river. The river was there. It swirled against the log piles of the bridge. Nick looked down into the clear, brown water, colored from the pebbly bottom, and watched the trout keeping themselves steady in the current with wavering fins. As he watched them they changed their positions by quick angles, only to hold steady in the fast water again. Nick watched them a long time.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“He watched them holding themselves with their noses into the current, many trout in deep, fast moving water, slightly distorted as he watched far down through the glassy convex surface of the pool, its surface pushing and swelling smooth against the resistance of the long- driven piles of the bridge. At the bottom of the pool were the big trout. Nick did not see them at first. Then he saw them at the bottom of the pool, big trout looking to hold themselves on the gravel bottom in a varying mist of gravel and sand, raised in spurts by the current.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Nick’s heart tightened as the trout moved. He felt all the old feeling.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“He had is leather rod-case in his hand and leaning forward to keep the weight of the pack high on his shoulders he walked along the road that paralleled the railway track, leaving the burned town behind in the heat, and then turned off around a hill with a high, fire- scarred hill on either side onto a road that went back into the country. He walked along the road feeling the ache from the pull of the heavy pack. The road climbed steadily. It was hard work walking up-hill. His muscles ached and the day was hot, but Nick felt happy. He felt he had left everything behind, the need for thinking, the need to write, other needs. It was all back of him.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Seney was burned, the country was burned over and changed, but it did not matter. It could not all be burned. He knew that. He hiked along the road, sweating in the sun, climbing to cross the range of hills that separated the railway from the pine plains.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“As he watched the black hopper that was nibbling at the wool of his sock with is four way lip, he realized that they had all turned black from living in the burned- over land. He realized that the fire must have come the year before, but the grasshoppers were all black now. He wondered how long they would say that way.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“He started a fire with some chunks of pine he got with the ax from a stump. Over the fire he stuck a wire grill, pushing the four legs down into the ground with his boot. Nick put the frying pan on the grill over the flames. He was hungrier. The beans and spaghetti warmed. Nick stirred them and mixed them together. They began to bubble, making little bubbles that rose with difficulty to the surface. There was a good smell.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Nick got out a bottle of tomato catchup and cut four slices of bread. The little bubbles were coming faster now. Nick sat down beside the fire and lifted the frying pan off. He poured about half the contents out into the tin plate. It spread slowly on the plate. Nick knew it was too hot. He poured on o some tomato catchup. He knows the beans and spaghetti were still too hot. He looked at the fire, then at the tent, he was not going to spoil it all by burning his tongue. For years he had never enjoyed friend bananas because he had never been able to wait for them to cool. His tongue was very sensitive. He was very hungry. Across the river in the swamp, in the almost dark, he saw a mist rising. He looked at the tent once more. All right. He took a full spoonful from the plate.”

Hemingway “In Our Time”
“Nick sat against the wall of the church where they had dragged him to be clear of machine-gun fire in the street. Both legs stuck out awkwardly. He had been hit in the spine. His face was sweaty and dirty. The sun shone on his face. The day was very hot. Rinaldi, big backed, his equipment sprawling, lay face downward against the wall. Nick looked straight ahead brilliantly. The pink wall of the house opposite toward the street. Two Austrian dead lay in the rubble in the shade of the house. Up the street were other dead. Things were getting forward in the town. It was going well. Stretcher-bearers would be along any time now. Nick turned his head carefully and looked at Rinaldi. “Senta Rinaldi. Senta. You and me we’ve made a separate peace.” Rinaldi lay still in the sun breathing with difficulty. “Not patriots.” Nick turned his head carefully away smiling sweatily. Rinaldi was a disappointing audience.”

Gilbert and Gubar “The queen’s looking glass”
Is a pen a metaphorical penis? Gerard Manley Hopkins seems to have thought so. In a letter to his friend R. W. Dixon in 1886 he confided a crucial feature of his theory of poetry. The artist’s “most essential quality,” he declared, is “masterly execution, which is a kind of male gift, and especially marks off men from women, the begetting of one’s thought on paper, on verse, or whatever the matter is.” In addition, he noted that “on better consideration it strikes me that the mastery I speak of is not so much in the mind as a puberty in the life of that quality. The male quality is the creative gift.”1 Male sexuality, in other words, is not just analogically but actually the essence of literary power. The poet’s pen is in some sense (even more than figuratively) a penis.

Gilbert and Gubar “The queen’s looking glass”
Authority suggests to me a constellation of linked meanings: not only, as the OED tells us, “a power to enforce obedience,” or “a derived or delegated power,” or “a power to influence action,” or “a power to inspire belief,” or “a person whose opinion is accepted”; not only those, but a connection as well with author—that is, a person who originates or gives existence to something, a begetter, beginner, father, or ancestor, a person also who sets forth written statements.

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
“To sing of wars, of captains, and kings, Of cities founded, commonwealths begun, For my mean pen are too superior things:”

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
“Or how they all, or each their dates have run Let poets and historians set these forth, My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth”

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
And oh ye high flown quills8 that soar the skies,
And ever with your prey still catch your praise,
If e’er you deign these lowly lines your eyes (45)
Give thyme or parsley wreath, I ask no bays;9
This mean and unrefined ore of mine
Will make your glist’ring gold but more to shine.

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
“But when my wond’ring eyes and envious heart Great Bartas sugared lines do but read o’er, Fool I do grudge the Muses did not part ‘Twixt him and me that overfluent store; A Bartas can do what a Bartas will But simple I according to my skill”

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
“From schoolboy’s tongue no rhetoric we expect, nor yet a sweert consort from broken strings, Nor perfect beauty where’s a main defect: My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings, And this to mend, alas, no art is ale, ‘Cause nature made it so irreparable.”

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
Nor can I, like that fluent sweet tongued Greek,
Who lisped at first, in future times speak plain.6 (20)
By art he gladly found what he did seek,
A full requital of his striving pain.
Art can do much, but this maxim’s most sure:
A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue (25)
Who says my hand a needle better fits,
A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
For such despite they cast on female wits:
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance. (30)

Anne Bradstreet “the Prologue”
Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are;
Men have precedency and still excel,
It is but vain unjustly to wage war;
Men can do best, and women know it well (40)
Preeminence in all and each is yours;
Yet grant some small acknowledgment of ours.

David Foster Wallace “2005 commencement address”
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

David Foster Wallace “2005 commencement address”
“Look, it’s not like I don’t have actual reasons for not believing in God. It’s not like I haven’t ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn’t see a thing, and it was fifty below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out ‘Oh, God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m gonna die if you don’t help me.'” And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.” The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that happened was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.”

David Foster Wallace “2005 commencement address”
It’s easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people’s two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy’s interpretation is true and the other guy’s is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from INSIDE the two guys. As if a person’s most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice. Plus, there’s the whole matter of arrogance. The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They’re probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. But religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.”
“The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too.”

“learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.”

Vladimir Nabokov- Good Readers and Good Writers
“To minor authors is left the ornamentation of the commonplace: these do not bother about any reinventing of the world; they merely try to squeeze the best they can out of a given order of things, out of traditional patterns of fiction. The various combinations these minor authors are able to produce within these set limits may be quite amusing in a mild ephemeral way because minor readers like to recognize their own ideas in a pleasing disguise.”

Phillis Wheatley- On Being Brought from Africa to America
Twas mercy brought me from my pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye.
“Their color is a diabolic dye.”
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refined, and join the angelic train.

Nikki Giovanni- Linkage: To Phillis Wheatley
What would a little girl think . . . boarding a big . . . at least to her . . . ship . . . setting sail on a big . . . to everybody . . . ocean . . . Perhaps seeing her first . . . iceberg . . . or whale . . . or shark . . . Watching the blue water kiss . . . the blue sky . . . and blow white clouds . . . to the horizon . . . My mother . . . caused awe . . in me for blowing . . . smoke rings . . . What would a little girl think. . . leaving Senegal . . . for that which had no name . . . and when one was obtained . . . no place for her . . .
You see them now . . . though they were always . . . there . . . the children of Hester Prynne . . . walking the streets . . . needing a place . . . to eat . . . sleep . . . Be . . . warm . . . loved . . . alone. . . together. . . complete . . . The block . . . that little Black girls . . . stood upon . . . is the same block . . . they now walk . . . with little white boys and girls . . . selling themselves . . . to the adequate . . . bidder . . .
Hagar was a little Black girl . . . chosen by Sarah and Abraham . . . looked like a breeder . . . they said . . . Phillis . . . a little Black girl . . . chosen by Wheatley . . . looked intelligent . . . make a cute pet . . . for the children . . . Old men . . . sweat curling round their collars . . . choose a body and act . . . on the wait . . . through the tunnel to Jersey . . . Looked like fun . . . they say . . . Family members . . . and family friends . . . inhale to intoxication . . . the allure of the youths. . . destroying in conception . . . that which has never been . . . born . . .
Eyes . . . they say . . . are the mirror . . . of the soul . . . a reflection . . . of the spirit . . . an informer . . . to reality . . . What do you see . . . if you are a little Black girl . . . standing on a stage . . . waiting to be purchased . . . Is there kindness . . . concern . . . compassion . . . in the faces examining you . . . Do your eyes show. . . or other eyes acknowledge . . . that you . . . dusky . . . naked of clothes and tongue . . . stripped of the protection of Gods . . . and countrymen . . . are Human . . . Do you see those who purchase . . . or those who sold . . . Do you see those who grab at you . . . or those who refused to shield you . . . Are you grateful to be bought . . . or sold . . . What would you think . . . of a people . . . who allowed . . . nay encouraged . . . abetted . . . regaled . . . in your chains. . . . Hands . . . that handle heavy objects . . . develop callouses . . . Feet in shoes too tight . . . develop corns . . . Minds that cannot comprehend . . . like lovers separated too long . . . develop in affinity for what is . . . and an indifference . . . if not hostility . . . to that which has been denied. . . Little white boys . . . stalking Park Avenue . . . little white girls . . . on the Minnesota Strip . . . are also slaves.. . to the uncaring. . . of a nation . . .
It cannot be unusual . . . that the gene remembers . . . It divides . . . and redivides and subdivides . . . again and again and again.. . to make the eyes brown . . . the fingers long . . . the hair coarse . . . the nose broad . . . the pigment Black . . . the mind intelligent . . . It cannot be unusual . . . that one gene . . . from all the billions upon billions. . . remembered clitorectomies . . . infibulations . . . women beaten. . . children hungry . . garbage heaping . . . open sewers . . . men laughing . . . at it all . . . It cannot be unusual . . . that the dark . . . dusky . . . murky world . . . of druggery . . . drums . . . witch doctors . . . incantations . . . MAGIC . . . was willingly shed . . . for the Enlightenment . . . At least man . . . was considered rational . . . At least books . . . dispensed knowledge . . . At least God . . . though still angry and jealous . . . was reachable through prayer and action . . . if those are not redundant . . . terms . . . We cannot be surprised that young Phillis chose poetry. . .
The critics . . . from a safe seat in the balcony . . . disdain her performance . . . reject her reality . . . ignore her truth. . . How could she . . . they ask . . . thank God she was brought . . . and bought . . . in this Land . . . How dare she . . . they decried . . . cheer George Washington his victory . . . Why couldn’t she . . . they want to know . . . be more like . . . more like . . . more like . . . The record sticks . . . Phillis was her own precedent . . . her own image . . . her only ancestor . . . She wasn’t like Harriet Tubman because she is Tubman . . . with Pen . . . rather than body . . . Leading herself . . . and therefore her people . . . from bondage . . . not like Sojourner Truth . . . she was Truth . . . using words on paper . . . to make the case . . . that slavery is people . . . and wrong to do . . . We know nothing of the Life . . . we who judge others . . . of the conditions . . . we create. . . and expect others to live with . . . or beyond . . . broken spirits . . . broken hearts . . . misplaced love . . . fruitless endeavor . . . Women . . . are considered complete . . . when they marry . . . We have done . . . it is considered . . . our duty . . . when we safely deliver a person from the bondage of Father . . . to the bondage of duty . . . and husband . . . from house slaves who read and write . . . to housewives who have time for neither . . . We are happy . . . when their own race is chosen . . . their own class reaffirmed . . . their their own desire submerged . . . into food . . . dishes . . . laundry . . . babies . . . no dreams this week thank you I haven’t the time . . . Like overripe fruit in an orchard embraced by frost . . . the will to live turns rotten . . . feckless . . . feculent . . .
What is a woman . . . to think . . . when all she hears . . . are words that exclude her . . . all she feels . . . are emotions that deceive . . . What do the children think . . . in their evening quest . . . of those who from platform and pulpit . . . deride their condition . . . yet purchase their service . . . What must life be . . . to any young captive . . . of its time . . . Do we send them back . . . home to the remembered horrors . . . Do we allow them their elsewheres . . . to parade their talents . . . Do we pretend that all is well . . . that Ends . . .

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that.
John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
John is a physician, and perhaps—(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)—perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.
You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?
If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?
My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.
So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is—and tonics, and air and exercise, and journeys, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first, and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge, for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.
The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough constantly to irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions.

The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“I wish I could get well faster.
But I must not think about that. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!
There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the ever-lastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn’t match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.
I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.
I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend.
I used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce I could always hop into that chair and be safe.

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The furniture in this room is no worse than inharmonious, however, for we had to bring it all from downstairs. I suppose when this was used as a playroom they had to take the nursery things out, and no wonder! I never saw such ravages as the children have made here.
The wallpaper, as I said before, is torn off in spots, and it sticketh closer than a brother—they must have had perseverance as well as hatred.
Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed, which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.
But I don’t mind it a bit—only the paper.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind.
The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.
You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well under way in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.
The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus. If you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions—why, that is something like it.
That is, sometimes!
There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.
When the sun shoots in through the cast window—I always watch for that first long, straight ray—it changes so quickly that I never can quite believe it.
That is why I watch it always.
By moonlight—the moon shines in all night when there is a moon—I wouldn’t know it was the same paper.
At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.

I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman.
By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see, I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was.
John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper.
I turned it off with a laugh. I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper—he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away.
I don’t want to leave now until I have found it out. There is a week more, and I think that will be enough.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“Then he said, very quietly indeed, “Open the door, my darling!”
“I can’t,” said I. “The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!”
And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in. He stopped short by the door.
“What is the matter?” he cried. “For God’s sake, what are you doing!”
I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder.
“I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”
Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John is to stay in town over night, and won’t be out until this evening.
Jennie wanted to sleep with me—the sly thing; but I told her I should undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone.
That was clever, for really I wasn’t alone a bit! As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her.
I pulled and she shook. I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper.”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.
And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to laugh at me, I declared I would finish it today!
We go away tomorrow, and they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before.
Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her merrily that I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing.
She laughed and said she wouldn’t mind doing it herself, but I must not get tired.
How she betrayed herself that time!”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“But I am here, and no person touches this paper but Me—not alive!
She tried to get me out of the room—it was too patent! But I said it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I believed I would lie down again and sleep all I could, and not to wake me even for dinner—I would call when I woke.
So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the things are gone, and there is nothing left but that great bedstead nailed down, with the canvas mattress we found on it.
We shall sleep downstairs tonight, and take the boat home tomorrow.
I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.
How those children did tear about here!
This bedstead is fairly gnawed!
But I must get to work.
I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path.
I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want to have anybody come in, till John comes.
I want to astonish him.
I’ve got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her!
But I forgot I could not reach far without anything to stand on!”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“This bed will not move!”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner—but it hurt my teeth.
Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!
I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.
Besides I wouldn’t do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.
I don’t like to look out of the windows even—there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.
I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities”.

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“white face beaming with the most kindly emotions”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“That very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish…the silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness” (84).

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination…At this moment, I saw more clearly than ever the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder” (90).

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“If you give a ****** an inch, he will take an ell…Learning would spoil the best ****** in the world…These words sank deep into my heart, stirred up sentiments within that lay slumbering, and called into existence an entirely new train of thought…I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty—to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man…What he most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that I most hated. That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good…” (78-79).

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“If you give a ni–er an inch, he will take an ell…Learning will spoil the best ni–er in the world…It would make him discontented and unhappy”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
(62-63) “It is partly in consequence of such facts, that slaves, when inquired of as to their condition and the character of their masters, almost universally say they are contented, and that their masters are kind. The slaveholders have been know to send in spies among their slaves…They suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it, and in so doing prove themselves a part of the human family…”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
(56) “The home plantation of the Colonel Lloyd wore the appearance of a country village…it was called by the slaves the Great House Farm. Few privileges were esteemed higher, by the slaves of the out-farms, than that of being selected to do errand at the Great House Farm. It was associated in their minds with greatness…the competitors for this office sought as diligently to please their overseers, as the office-seekers in the political parties seek to please and deceive the people. The same traits of character might be seen in Colonel Lloyd’s slaves, as are seen in the slaves of the political parties”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
§ (57) “I am going away to the Great House Farm! O, yea! O, yea! O! This they would sing, as a chorus, to words which to many would seem unmeaning to jargon, but which, nevertheless, were full of meaning to themselves…I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs…Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains”

Frederick Douglass “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass”
“On the one hand, there stood slavery, a stern reality, glaring frightfully upon us,–its robes already crimsoned with the blood of million…Upon either side we saw grim death, assuming the most horrid shapes. Now it was starvation, causing us to ear our own flesh…in coming to a fixed determination to run away, we did more than Patrick Henry, when he resolved upon liberty or death. With us it was a doubtful liberty at most, and almost certain death if we failed. For my part, I should prefer death to hopeless bondage” (123).

T. S. Eliot “The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats (5)
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . . (10)
Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’
Let us go and make out visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

T. S. Eliot “The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown (130)
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Hilda Doolittle “Leda”
Where the slow river
meets the tide,
a red swan lifts red wings
and darker beak,
and underneath the purple down (5)
of his soft breast
uncurls his coral feet.

Through the deep purple
of the dying heat
of sun and mist, (10)
the level ray of sun-beam
has caressed
the lily with dark breast,
and flecked with richer gold
its golden crest. (15)

Where the slow lifting
of the tide,
floats into the river
and slowly drifts
among the reeds, (20)
and lifts the yellow flags,
he floats
where tide and river meet.

Ah kingly kiss—
no more regret (25)
nor old deep memories
to mar the bliss;
where the low sedge is thick,
the gold day-lily
outspreads and rests (30)
beneath soft fluttering
of red swan wings
and the warm quivering
of the red swan’s breast.
(1919, 1921)

Nabokov “good readers and good writers”
“Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature.”

“One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, “I want to be a poet-not a Negro poet,” meaning, I believe, “I would like to be a white poet”; meaning behind that, “I would like to be white.” And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself. And I doubted then that, with his desire to run away spiritually from his race, this boy would ever be a great poet. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America-this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.”

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus1 (5)
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn (10)
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

“Yes, y’all. Graceland was a very troubling place. What Graceland proves is this: Elvis could have bought anything he wanted, but he didn’t know what to buy. Looks like Elvis didn’t expose himself to much: the Great White American Consumer had no taste at all. Which, of course, doesn’t matter. It’s not Elvis’s parochial, whitetrash taste that matters, or his bloated-ass, momma’s boy, never-met-a-drug-I-wouldn’t-take paranoia. It doesn’t even matter if Elvis made that ignorant statement about colored people and shoe-shining because the icon, not Elvis the man, is the Elvis we all know, and Elvis the icon isn’t nothing but a reflection of white American desires. Especially white American consumerist desires.”

“Negroes listen to and play Negro music, not our music. Fear of the black consumer: then, as now, black artists– culture consumers who took in stuff and made it theirs, and expressed it– did not really exist in the popular imagination. Chuch Berry as “the black artist who took in country music” did not exist. Neither did cultural literates Howling Wolf, or Fats Domino, or Bo Diddley. (Or for that matter, the Dostoyevski-reading Richard Wright or the cubism-inspired Romare Bearden.) Instead, their stuff– a blues-based performance music informed by myriad American influences– was seen as “natural black stuff” and not African-American art, or American art, as Presley’s rock and roll would be. Not American art worthy of mainstream attention. (Chuck D. an American poet? Hah!) Blacks are natural cultural resources, containers of unrefined cultural wealth and lots of (our) green. As resources, they are not consumers: they are objects, not subjects. Parasites, maybe… but not fellow consumers. Went the logic. And still does, in closeted ways.

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez by Americo Paredes
“I don’t regret that I killed him (the Sheriff of the county of Karnes);
I regret my brother’s death.”

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez by Americo Paredes
“I don’t regret that I killed him;
A man must defend himself.”

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez by Americo Paredes
“It is said that because of me
Many people have been killed;
I will surrender now
Because such things are not right.”

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
I am Joaquin
Lost in a world of confusion,
Caught up in a whirl of a
gringo society,
Confused by the rules,
Scorned by attitudes,
Suppressed by manipulations,
And destroyed by modern society.
My fathers
have lost the economic battle
and won
the struggle of cultural survival.
And now!
I must choose
Between the paradox of
Victory of the spirit,
despite physical hunger
to exist in the grasp
of American social neurosis,
sterilization of the soul
and a full stomach.

I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
La Raza!






or whatever I call myself,

I look the same

I feel the same

I Cry


Sing the same

I am the masses of my people and

I refuse to be absorbed.

I am Joaquin

The odds are great

but my spirit is strong

My faith unbreakable

My blood is pure

I am Aztec Prince and Christian Christ



Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
(Jim) “Dah,now, Huck, what I tell you?-what I tell you up dah on Jackson islan? I tole you I got a hairy breas’, en what’s de sign un it; en I tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich again; en it’s come true; en heah she is! Dah, now! Doan’ talk to me-signs is signs, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis’s well ‘at I ‘uz gwinter be rich agin as I’s a stannin’ health dis minute!”

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“Looky here, Huck, what fools we are, to not think of it before! I bet I know where Jim is.”
“No! Where?”
“In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, looky here. When we was at dinner, didn’t you see a N man go in there with some vittles?”
“What did you think the vittles was for?”
“For a dog.”
“So’d I. Well, it wasn’t for a dog.”
“Because part of it was watermelon.”
“So it was-I noticed it. Well, it does beat all, that I never thought about a dog not eating watermelon. It shows how a body can see and don’t see at the same time.”

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“Mornings before daylight I slipped into cornfields and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind. Pap always said it warn’t no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time; but the widow said it warn’t anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it. Jim said he reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was partly right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two or three things from the list and say we wouldn’t borrow them any more — then he reckoned it wouldn’t be no harm to borrow the others. So we talked it over all one night, drifting along down the river, trying to make up our minds whether to drop the watermelons, or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons, or what. But towards daylight we got it all settled satisfactory, and concluded to drop crabapples and p’simmons. We warn’t feeling just right before that, but it was all comfortable now. I was glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain’t ever good, and the p’simmons wouldn’t be ripe for two or three months yet.”

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and

so on, ‘stead of mister; and Jim’s eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says:
“I didn’ know dey was so many un um. I hain’t hearn ’bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you counts dem kings dat’s in a pack er k’yards. How much do a king git?”
“Get?” I says; “why, they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.”
“Ain’that gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?”
“They don’t do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set around.”
“No; is dat so?”
“Of course it is. They just set around — except, maybe, when there’s a war; then they go to the war. But other times they just lazy around; or go hawking — just hawking and sp — Sh! — d’ you hear a noise?”
We skipped out and looked; but it warn’t nothing but the flutter of a steamboat’s wheel away down, coming around the point; so we come back.
“Yes,” says I, “and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don’t go just so he whacks their heads off. But mostly they hang round the harem.”
“Roun’ de which?”
“What’s de harem?”
“The place where he keeps his wives. Don’t you know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives.”
“Why, yes, dat’s so; I — I’d done forgot it. A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I reck’n. Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck’n de wives

quarrels considable; en dat ‘crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’. I doan’ take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blim-blammin’ all de time? No — ‘deed he wouldn’t. A wise man ‘ud take en buil’ a biler-factry; en den he could shet down de biler-factry when he want to res’.”
“Well, but he was the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told me so, her own self.”
“I doan k’yer what de widder say, he warn’t no wise man nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes’ ways I ever see. Does you know ’bout dat chile dat he ‘uz gwyne to chop in two?”
“Yes, the widow told me all about it.”
“Well den! Warn’ dat de beatenes’ notion in de worl’? You jes’ take en look at it a minute. Dah’s de stump, dah — dat’s one er de women; heah’s you — dat’s de yuther one; I’s Sollermun; en dish yer dollar bill’s de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What does I do? Does I shin aroun’ mongs’ de neighbors en fine out which un you de bill do b’long to, en han’ it over to de right one, all safe en soun’, de way dat anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in two, en give half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat’s de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now I want to ast you: what’s de use er dat half a bill? — can’t buy noth’n wid it. En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn’ give a dern for a million un um.”
“But hang it, Jim, you’ve clean missed the point — blame it, you’ve missed it a thousand mile.”
“Who? Me? Go ‘long. Doan’ talk to me ’bout yo’ pints. I reck’n I knows sense when I sees it; en

dey ain’ no sense in sich doin’s as dat. De ‘spute warn’t ’bout a half a chile, de ‘spute was ’bout a whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a ‘spute ’bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan’ know enough to come in out’n de rain. Doan’ talk to me ’bout Sollermun, Huck, I knows him by de back.”
“But I tell you you don’t get the point.”
“Blame de point! I reck’n I knows what I knows. En mine you, de real pint is down furder — it’s down deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised. You take a man dat’s got on’y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne to be waseful o’ chillen? No, he ain’t; he can’t ‘ford it. He know how to value ’em. But you take a man dat’s got ’bout five million chillen runnin’ roun’ de house, en it’s diffunt. He as soon chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey’s plenty mo’. A chile er two, mo’ er less, warn’t no consekens to Sollermun, dad fatch him!”
I never see such a ******. If he got a notion in his head once, there warn’t no getting it out again. He was the most down on Solomon of any ****** I ever see. So I went to talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide. I told about Louis Sixteenth that got his head cut off in France long time ago; and about his little boy the dolphin, that would a been a king, but they took and shut him up in jail, and some say he died there.
“Po’ little chap.”
“But some says he got out and got away, and come to America.”
“Dat’s good! But he’ll be pooty lonesome — dey ain’ no kings here, is dey, Huck?”
“Den he cain’t git no situation. What he gwyne to do?”
“Well, I don’t know. Some of them gets on the police, and some of them learns people how to talk French.”
“Why, Huck, doan’ de French people talk de same way we does?”
“No, Jim; you couldn’t understand a word they said — not a single word.”
“Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat come?”
“I don’t know; but it’s so. I got some of their jabber out of a book. S’pose a man was to come to you and say Polly-voo-franzy — what would you think?”
“I wouldn’ think nuff’n; I’d take en bust him over de head — dat is, if he warn’t white. I wouldn’t ‘low no ****** to call me dat.”
“Shucks, it ain’t calling you anything. It’s only saying, do you know how to talk French?”
“Well, den, why couldn’t he say it?”
“Why, he is a-saying it. That’s a Frenchman’s way of saying it.”
“Well, it’s a blame ridicklous way, en I doan’ want to hear no mo’ ’bout it. Dey ain’ no sense in it.”
“Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?”
“No, a cat don’t.”
“Well, does a cow?”
“No, a cow don’t, nuther.”
“Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like a cat?”
“No, dey don’t.”
“It’s natural and right for ’em to talk different from each other, ain’t it?”
“And ain’t it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk different from us?”
“Why, mos’ sholy it is.”
“Well, then, why ain’t it natural and right for a Frenchman to talk different from us? You answer me that.”
“Is a cat a man, Huck?”
“Well, den, dey ain’t no sense in a cat talkin’ like a man. Is a cow a man? — er is a cow a cat?”
“No, she ain’t either of them.”
“Well, den, she ain’t got no business to talk like either one er the yuther of ’em. Is a Frenchman a man?”
“WELL, den! Dad blame it, why doan’ he talk like a man? You answer me dat!”
I see it warn’t no use wasting words — you can’t learn a ****** to argue. So I quit.” (

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“How? Why, hain’t you been talking about my coming back, and all that stuff, as if I’d been gone away?”
“Huck — Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de eye. Hain’t you ben gone away?”
“Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? I hain’t been gone anywheres. Where would I go to?”
“Well, looky here, boss, dey’s sumf’n wrong, dey is. Is I me, or who is I? Is I heah, or whah is I? Now dat’s what I wants to know.”
“Well, I think you’re here, plain enough, but I think you’re a tangle-headed old fool, Jim.”
“I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn’t you tote out de line in de canoe fer to make fas’ to de tow-head?”
“No, I didn’t. What tow-head? I hain’t see no tow-head.”
“You hain’t seen no towhead? Looky here, didn’t de line pull loose en de raf’ go a-hummin’ down de river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?”
“What fog?”
“Why, de fog! — de fog dat’s been aroun’ all night. En didn’t you whoop, en didn’t I whoop, tell we got mix’ up in de islands en one un us got los’ en t’other one was jis’ as good as los’, ‘kase he didn’ know whah he wuz? En didn’t I bust up agin a lot er dem islands en have a turrible time en mos’ git drownded? Now ain’ dat so, boss — ain’t it so? You answer me dat.”
“Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain’t seen no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same. You couldn’t a got drunk in that time, so of course you’ve been dreaming.”
“Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten minutes?”
“Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn’t any of it happen.”

“But, Huck, it’s all jis’ as plain to me as — ”
“It don’t make no difference how plain it is; there ain’t nothing in it. I know, because I’ve been here all the time.”
Jim didn’t say nothing for about five minutes, but set there studying over it. Then he says:
“Well, den, I reck’n I did dream it, Huck; but dog my cats ef it ain’t de powerfullest dream I ever see. En I hain’t ever had no dream b’fo’ dat’s tired me like dis one.”
“Oh, well, that’s all right, because a dream does tire a body like everything sometimes. But this one was a staving dream; tell me all about it, Jim.”
So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right through, just as it happened, only he painted it up considerable. Then he said he must start in and “‘terpret” it, because it was sent for a warning. He said the first towhead stood for a man that would try to do us some good, but the current was another man that would get us away from him. The whoops was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and if we didn’t try hard to make out to understand them they’d just take us into bad luck, ‘stead of keeping us out of it. The lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn’t talk back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big clear river, which was the free States, and wouldn’t have no more trouble.
It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to the raft, but it was clearing up again now.
“Oh, well, that’s all interpreted well enough as far

as it goes, Jim,” I says; “but what does these things stand for?”
It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed oar. You could see them first-rate now.
Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he couldn’t seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place again right away. But when he did get the thing straightened around he looked at me steady without ever smiling, and says:
“What do dey stan’ for? I’se gwyne to tell you. When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no’ mo’ what become er me en de raf’. En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo’ foot, I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin’ ’bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ’em ashamed.”
Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam, and went in there without saying anything but that. But that was enough. It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his foot to get him to take it back.
It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a ******; but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.”

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“There warn’t nothing to do now but to look out sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it. He said he’d be mighty sure to see it, because he’d be a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it he’d be in a slave country again and no more show for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and says:
“Dah she is?”
But it warn’t. It was Jack-o’-lanterns, or lightning bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he was most free — and who was to blame for it? Why, me. I couldn’t get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest; I couldn’t stay still in one place. It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn’t no use, conscience up and says, every time, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.” That was so — I couldn’t get around that noway. That was where it pinched. Conscience says to me, “What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her ****** go off right under your


eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how. That’s what she done.”
I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me. We neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around and says, “Dah’s Cairo!” it went through me like a shot, and I thought if it was Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness.
Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself. He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them.
It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn’t ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just see what a difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about free. It was according to the old saying, “Give a ****** an inch and he’ll take an ell.” Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. Here was this ******, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children — children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm.


I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of him. My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, until at last I says to it, “Let up on me — it ain’t too late yet — I’ll paddle ashore at the first light and tell.” I felt easy and happy and light as a feather right off. All my troubles was gone. I went to looking out sharp for a light, and sort of singing to myself. By and by one showed. Jim sings out:
“We’s safe, Huck, we’s safe! Jump up and crack yo’ heels! Dat’s de good ole Cairo at las’, I jis knows it!”
I says:
“I’ll take the canoe and go and see, Jim. It mightn’t be, you know.”
He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his old coat in the bottom for me to set on, and give me the paddle; and as I shoved off, he says:
“Pooty soon I’ll be a-shout’n’ for joy, en I’ll say, it’s all on accounts o’ Huck; I’s a free man, en I couldn’t ever ben free ef it hadn’ ben for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won’t ever forgit you, Huck; you’s de bes’ fren’ Jim’s ever had; en you’s de only fren’ ole Jim’s got now.”
I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me. I went along slow then, and I warn’t right down certain whether I was glad I started or whether I warn’t. When I was fifty yards off, Jim says:
“Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on’y white genlman dat ever kep’ his promise to ole Jim.”
Well, I just felt sick. But I says, I got to do it — I


can’t get out of it. Right then along comes a skiff with two men in it with guns, and they stopped and I stopped. One of them says:
“What’s that yonder?”
“A piece of a raft,” I says.
“Do you belong on it?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Any men on it?”
“Only one, sir.”
“Well, there’s five ******s run off to-night up yonder, above the head of the bend. Is your man white or black?”
I didn’t answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn’t come. I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn’t man enough — hadn’t the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says:
“He’s white.”
“I reckon we’ll go and see for ourselves.”
“I wish you would,” says I, “because it’s pap that’s there, and maybe you’d help me tow the raft ashore where the light is. He’s sick — and so is mam and Mary Ann.”
“Oh, the devil! we’re in a hurry, boy. But I s’pose we’ve got to. Come, buckle to your paddle, and let’s get along.”
I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars. When we had made a stroke or two, I says:
“Pap’ll be mighty much obleeged to you, I can tell you. Everybody goes away when I want them to help me tow the raft ashore, and I can’t do it by myself.”
“Well, that’s infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy, what’s the matter with your father?”


“It’s the — a — the — well, it ain’t anything much.”
They stopped pulling. It warn’t but a mighty little ways to the raft now. One says:
“Boy, that’s a lie. What IS the matter with your pap? Answer up square now, and it’ll be the better for you.”
“I will, sir, I will, honest — but don’t leave us, please. It’s the — the — Gentlemen, if you’ll only pull ahead, and let me heave you the headline, you won’t have to come a-near the raft — please do.”
“Set her back, John, set her back!” says one. They backed water. “Keep away, boy — keep to looard. Confound it, I just expect the wind has blowed it to us. Your pap’s got the small-pox, and you know it precious well. Why didn’t you come out and say so? Do you want to spread it all over?”
“Well,” says I, a-blubbering, “I’ve told everybody before, and they just went away and left us.”
“Poor devil, there’s something in that. We are right down sorry for you, but we — well, hang it, we don’t want the small-pox, you see. Look here, I’ll tell you what to do. Don’t you try to land by yourself, or you’ll smash everything to pieces. You float along down about twenty miles, and you’ll come to a town on the left-hand side of the river. It will be long after sun-up then, and when you ask for help you tell them your folks are all down with chills and fever. Don’t be a fool again, and let people guess what is the matter. Now we’re trying to do you a kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us, that’s a good boy. It wouldn’t do any good to land yonder where the light is — it’s only a wood-yard. Say, I reckon your father’s poor, and I’m bound to say he’s in pret-


ty hard luck. Here, I’ll put a twenty-dollar gold piece on this board, and you get it when it floats by. I feel mighty mean to leave you; but my kingdom! it won’t do to fool with small-pox, don’t you see?”(

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn’t no use for me to try to learn to do right; a body that don’t get started right when he’s little ain’t got no show — when the pinch comes there ain’t nothing to back him up and keep him to his work, and so he gets beat. Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s’pose you’d a done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad — I’d feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was stuck. I couldn’t answer that. So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about it, but after this always do whichever come handiest at the time.”(

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
“The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all apart, and went tearing off every which way, and Buck Harkness he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap. I could a stayed if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to.
I went to the circus and loafed around the back


side till the watchman went by, and then dived in under the tent. I had my twenty-dollar gold piece and some other money, but I reckoned I better save it, because there ain’t no telling how soon you are going to need it, away from home and amongst strangers that way. You can’t be too careful. I ain’t opposed to spending money on circuses when there ain’t no other way, but there ain’t no use in wasting it on them.
It was a real bully circus. It was the splendidest sight that ever was when they all come riding in, two and two, a gentleman and lady, side by side, the men just in their drawers and undershirts, and no shoes nor stirrups, and resting their hands on their thighs easy and comfortable — there must a been twenty of them — and every lady with a lovely complexion, and perfectly beautiful, and looking just like a gang of real sure-enough queens, and dressed in clothes that cost millions of dollars, and just littered with diamonds. It was a powerful fine sight; I never see anything so lovely. And then one by one they got up and stood, and went a-weaving around the ring so gentle and wavy and graceful, the men looking ever so tall and airy and straight, with their heads bobbing and skimming along, away up there under the tent-roof, and every lady’s rose-leafy dress flapping soft and silky around her hips, and she looking like the most loveliest parasol.
And then faster and faster they went, all of them dancing, first one foot out in the air and then the other, the horses leaning more and more, and the ringmaster going round and round the center-pole, cracking his whip and shouting “Hi! — hi!” and the clown


cracking jokes behind him; and by and by all hands dropped the reins, and every lady put her knuckles on her hips and every gentleman folded his arms, and then how the horses did lean over and hump themselves! And so one after the other they all skipped off into the ring, and made the sweetest bow I ever see, and then scampered out, and everybody clapped their hands and went just about wild.
Well, all through the circus they done the most astonishing things; and all the time that clown carried on so it most killed the people. The ringmaster couldn’t ever say a word to him but he was back at him quick as a wink with the funniest things a body ever said; and how he ever could think of so many of them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn’t noway understand. Why, I couldn’t a thought of them in a year. And by and by a drunk man tried to get into the ring — said he wanted to ride; said he could ride as well as anybody that ever was. They argued and tried to keep him out, but he wouldn’t listen, and the whole show come to a standstill. Then the people begun to holler at him and make fun of him, and that made him mad, and he begun to rip and tear; so that stirred up the people, and a lot of men begun to pile down off of the benches and swarm towards the ring, saying, “Knock him down! throw him out!” and one or two women begun to scream. So, then, the ringmaster he made a little speech, and said he hoped there wouldn’t be no disturbance, and if the man would promise he wouldn’t make no more trouble he would let him ride if he thought he could stay on the horse. So everybody laughed and said all right, and the man got on.


The minute he was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle trying to hold him, and the drunk man hanging on to his neck, and his heels flying in the air every jump, and the whole crowd of people standing up shouting and laughing till tears rolled down. And at last, sure enough, all the circus men could do, the horse broke loose, and away he went like the very nation, round and round the ring, with that sot laying down on him and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging most to the ground on one side, and then t’other one on t’other side, and the people just crazy. It warn’t funny to me, though; I was all of a tremble to see his danger. But pretty soon he struggled up astraddle and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and that; and the next minute he sprung up and dropped the bridle and stood! and the horse a-going like a house afire too. He just stood up there, a-sailing around as easy and comfortable as if he warn’t ever drunk in his life — and then he begun to pull off his clothes and sling them. He shed them so thick they kind of clogged up the air, and altogether he shed seventeen suits. And, then, there he was, slim and handsome, and dressed the gaudiest and prettiest you ever saw, and he lit into that horse with his whip and made him fairly hum — and finally skipped off, and made his bow and danced off to the dressing-room, and everybody just a-howling with pleasure and astonishment.
Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled, and he was the sickest ringmaster you ever see, I reckon. Why, it was one of his own men! He had got up that joke all out of his own head, and


never let on to nobody. Well, I felt sheepish enough to be took in so, but I wouldn’t a been in that ringmaster’s place, not for a thousand dollars. I don’t know; there may be bullier circuses than what that one was, but I never struck them yet. Anyways, it was plenty good enough for me; and wherever I run across it, it can have all of my custom every time.”

Huck Finn, Mark Twain:
Bremen’s favorite line in book, when at doctor after Tom shot: “How’d you say he got shot? He had a dream, and it shot him. Singular dream”

Raymond Chandler “red wind”
The girl stood over him, looking down. Then her wide dark horrified eyes came up and fastened on mine. “That buys me,” I said. “Anything I have is yours – now and forever.”

Raymond Chandler “red wind”
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge

Raymond Chandler “red wind”
“To the memory of Mr. Stan Phillips,” I said out loud. “Just another flour flusher.” I flipped her pearls out into the water one by one, at the floating seagulls

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
I think that every writer, when he speaks of his own approach to fiction, hopes to show that, in some crucial and deep sense, he is a realist; and for some of us, for whom the ordinary aspects of daily life prove to be of no great fictional interest, this very difficult. I have found that if one’s young hero can’t be identified with the average American boy, or even with the average American delinquent, then his perpetrator will have a good deal of explaining to do

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
When we look at a good deal of serious modern fiction, and particularly Southern fiction, we find this quality about it that is generally described, in a pejorative sense, as grotesque. Of course, I have found that anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic. But for this occasion, we may leave such misapplications aside and consider the kind of fiction that may be called grotesque with good reason, because of a directed intention that way on the part of the author

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
All novelists are fundamentally seekers and describers of the real, but the realism of each novelist wil depend on his view of the ultimate reaches of reality. Since the eighteenth century, the popular spirit of each succeeding age has tended more and more to the view that the ills and mysteries of life will eventually fall before the scientific advances of man, a belief that is still going strong even though this is the first generation to face total extinction because of these advances. If the novelist is in tuen with this spirit, if he believes that actions are predetermined by psychic make-up or the economic situation or some other determinable factor, then he will be concerned above all with an accurate reproduction of the things that most immediately concern man, with the natural forces that he feels control his destiny. Such a writer may produce a great tragic naturalism, for by his responsibility to the things he sees, he may transcend the limitations of his narrow vision.
On the other hand, if the writer believes that our life is and will remain essentially mysterious, if he looks upon us as beings 0065isting in a created order to whose laws we freely respond, then what sees on the surface will be of interest to him only as he can go through it into an experience of mystery itself. His kind of fiction will always be pushing its own limits outward toward the limits of mystery, because for this kind of writer, the meaning of a story does not begin except at a depth where adequate motivation and adequate psychology and the various determinations have been exhausted. Such a writer will be interested in what we don’t understand rather than what we do. He will be interested possibility rather than in probability. He will be intereste in characters who are forced out to meet evil and grace and who act on a trust beyond themselves – whether they know very clearly what it is they act upon or not. To the modern mind, this kind of character, and his creator, are typical Don Quixotes, tilting at what is not there

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
Henry James said that Conrad in his fiction did things in the way that took the most doing. I think the writer of grotesque fiction does them in the way that takes the least, because in his work distances are so great. He’s looking for one image that will connect or combine or embody two points; one is a point in the concrete, and the other is a point not visible to the naked eye, but believed in by him firmly, just as real to him, really, as the one that everybody sees. It’s not necessary to point out that the look of this fiction is going to be wild, that it is almost of necessity going to be violent and comic, because of the discrepancies that it seeks to combine.

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
Even though the writer who produces grotesque fiction may not consider his characters any more freakish than ordinary fallen man usually is, his audience is going to; and it is going to ask him-or more often, tell him-why he has chosen to bring such maimed souls alive.

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
In nineteenth-century American writing, there was a good deal of grotesque literature which came from the frontier and was supposed to be funny; but our present grotesque characters, comic though they may be, are at least not primarily so. They seem to carry an invisible burden; their fanaticism is a reproach, not merely an eccentricity. I believe that they come about from the prophetic vision peculiar to any novelist whose concerns I have been describing. In the novelist’s case, prophecy is a matter of seeing near things with their extensions of meaning and thus of seeing far things close up. The prophet is a realist of distances, and it is this kind of realism that you find in the best modern instances of the grotesque.

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological. That is a large statement, and it is dangerous to make it, for almost anything you say about Southern belief can be denied in the next breath with equal propriety. But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner, who isn’t convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God. Ghosts can be very fierce and instructive. They cast strange shadows, particularly in our literature. In any case, it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that he attains some depth in literature.

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
The Southern writer is forced from all sides to make his gaze extend beyond the surface, beyond mere problems, until it touches that realm which is the concern of prophets and poets

Flannery O’Connor – “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction”
And his need, of course, is to be lifted up. There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration.

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“Yes’m,” The Misfit said as if he agreed. “Jesus thown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn’t committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course,” he said, “they never shown me my papers. That’s why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you’ll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you’ll have something to prove you ain’t been treated right. I call myself The Misfit,” he said, “because I can’t make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment.”

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“We’ve had an ACCIDENT”

“Nome, I ain’t a good man,” The Misfit said after a second as if he had considered her statement carefully, “but I ain’t the worst in the world neither. My daddy said I was a different breed of dog from my brothers and sisters. ‘You know,’ Daddy said, ‘it’s some that can live their whole life out without asking about it and it’s others has to know why it is, and this boy is one of the latters. He’s going to be into everything!’ “

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“Daddy was a card himself,” The Misfit said. “You couldn’t put anything over on him. He never got in trouble with the Authorities though. Just had the knack of handling them.”
“You could be honest too if you’d only try,” said the grandmother. “Think how wonderful it would be to settle down and live a comfortable life and not have to think about somebody chasing you all the time.”
The Misfit kept scratching in the ground with the butt of his gun as if he were thinking about it. “Yes’m, somebody is always after you,” he murmured.
The grandmother noticed how thin his shoulder blades were just behind his hat because she was standing up looking down on him. “Do you ever pray?” she asked.
He shook his head. All she saw was the black hat wiggle between his shoulder blades. “Nome,” he said.
There was a pistol shot from the woods, followed closely by another. Then silence. The old lady’s head jerked around. She could hear the wind move through the tree tops like a long satisfied insuck of breath. “Bailey Boy!” she called.
“I was a gospel singer for a while,” The Misfit said. “I been most everything. Been in the arm service, both land and sea, at home and abroad, been twict married, been an undertaker, been with the railroads, plowed Mother Earth, been in a tornado, seen a man burnt alive oncet,” and he looked up at the children’s mother and the little girl who were sitting close together, their faces white and their eyes glassy; “I even seen a woman flogged,” he said.
“Pray, pray,” the grandmother began, “pray, pray . . .”
“I never was a bad boy that I remember of,” The Misfit said in an almost dreamy voice, “but somewheres along the line I done something wrong and got sent to the penitentiary. I was buried alive,” and he looked up and held her attention to him by a steady stare.
“That’s when you should have started to pray,” she said. “What did you do to get sent to the penitentiary that first time?”
“Turn to the right, it was a wall,” The Misfit said, looking up again at the cloudless sky. “Turn to the left, it was a wall. Look up it was a ceiling, look down it was a floor. I forget what I done, lady. I set there and set there, trying to remember what it was I done and I ain’t recalled it to this day. Oncet in a while, I would think it was coming to me, but it never come.”
“Maybe they put you in by mistake,” the old lady said vaguely.
“Nome,” he said. “It wasn’t no mistake. They had the papers on me.”
“You must have stolen something,” she said.
The Misfit sneered slightly. “Nobody had nothing I wanted,” he said. “It was a head-doctor at the penitentiary said what I had done was kill my daddy but I known that for a lie. My daddy died in nineteen ought nineteen of the epidemic flu and I never had a thing to do with it. He was buried in the Mount Hopewell Baptist churchyard and you can go there and see for yourself.”

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
Alone with The Misfit, the grandmother found that she had lost her voice. There was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun. There was nothing around her but woods. She wanted to tell him that he must pray. She opened and closed her mouth several times before anything came out. Finally she found herself saying, “Jesus. Jesus,” meaning, Jesus will help you, but the way she was saying it, it sounded as if she might be cursing.
“Yes’m,” The Misfit said as if he agreed. “Jesus thown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn’t committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course,” he said, “they never shown me my papers. That’s why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you’ll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you’ll have something to prove you ain’t been treated right. I call myself The Misfit,” he said, “because I can’t make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment.”
There was a piercing scream from the woods, followed closely by a pistol report. “Does it seem right to you, lady, that one is punished a heap and another ain’t punished at all?”
“Jesus!” the old lady cried. “You’ve got good blood! I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady. I’ll give you all the money I’ve got!”
“Lady,” The Misfit said, looking beyond her far into the woods, “there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip.”

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead,” The Misfit continued, “and He shouldn’t have done it. He thown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness,” he said and his voice had become almost a snarl.

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“Maybe He didn’t raise the dead,” the old lady mumbled, not knowing what she was saying and feeling so dizzy that she sank down in the ditch with her legs twisted under her.
“I wasn’t there so I can’t say he didn’t,” The Misfit said. “I wisht I had of been there,” he said, hitting the ground with his fist. “It ain’t right I wasn’t there because if I had of been there I would of known. Listen lady,” he said in a high voice, “if I had of been there I would of known and I wouldn’t be like I am now.” His voice seemed about to crack and the grandmother’s head cleared for an instant. She saw the man’s face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest. Then he put his gun down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them.

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“She would of been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
“Some fun!” Bobby Lee said.
“Shut up, Bobby Lee,” The Misfit said. “It’s no real pleasure in life.”

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
“Listen,” Bailey began, “we’re in a terrible predicament! Nobody realizes what this is,” and his voice cracked. His eyes were as blue and intense as the parrots in his shirt and he remained perfectly still.
The grandmother reached up to adjust her hat brim as if she were going to the woods with him but it came off in her hand. She stood staring at it and after a second she let it fall on the ground. Hiram pulled Bailey up by the arm as if he were assisting an old man. John Wesley caught hold of his father’s hand and Bobby Lee followed. They went off toward the woods and just as they reached the dark edge, Bailey turned and supporting himself against a gray naked pine trunk, he shouted, “I’ll be back in a minute, Mamma, wait on me!”

Barn Burning- William Faulkner
That night they camped, in a groove of oaks and beeches where a spring ran…..ends with… the element of steel or of powder spoke to other men, as the one weapon for the preservation of integrity, else breath were not worth the breathing, and hence to be regarded with respect and used with discretion.” t

Barn Burning- William Faulkner
” Later, twenty years later, he was to tell himself, ” If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have hit me again.” But now he said nothing. He was not crying. He just stood there. “Answer me”. his father said.

Barn Burning- William Faulkner
“presently he could see the grooves of oaks and cedars and other other flowering trees and shrubs where the house would be, though not the house yet……ends with the sentence….Maybe he will feel it too. Maybe it will even change him now from what maybe he couldn’t help but be.”

Barn Burning- William Faulkner
” Ge out of my way ******”…. and ends with the sentence.. Maybe it ain’t white enough yet to suit him. Maybe he wants to mix some white sweat with it.”

Barn Burning- William Faulkner
” At midnight he was sitting on the crest of the hill….ends with the sentence… for booty-it meant nothing and less than nothing to him if it were enemy booty or his own.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“In the back of the wagon, supported by sacks of squash and hills of pumpkins, Shadrack began a struggle that was to last for twelve days, a struggle to order and focus experience. It had to do with making a place for fear as a way of controlling it.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“It was not death or dying that frightened him, but the unexpectedness of both. In forting it all out, he hit on the notion that if one day a year were devoted to it, everybody could get it out of the way and the rest of the year would be safe and free. In this manner he instituted National Suicide Day.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“What was taken by outsiders to be slackness, slovenliness or even generosity was in fact a full recognition of legitimacy of forces other than good ones. They did not believe doctors could heal-for them, none ever had done so. They did not believe death was accidental-life might be, but death was deliberate. They did not believe Nature was ever askew-only inconvenient. Plague and drought were as “natural” as springtime. If milk could curdle, God knows robins could fall. The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance. They knew anger well but not despair, and they didn’t stone sinners for the same reason they didn’t commit suicide-it was beneath them.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“Eva looked into Hannah’s eyes. “Is? My baby? Burning?” The two women did not speak, for the eyes of each were enough for the other. Then Hannah closed hers and ran toward the voices of neighbors calling for water.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“He give me such a time. Such a time. Look like he didn’t even want to be born. But he come on out. Boys is hard to bear. You wouldn’t know that but they is. It was such a carryin’ on to get him born and to keep him alive. Just to keep his little heart beating and his little old lungs cleared and look like when he cam back from that war he wanted to git back in. After all that carryin’ on, just gettin’ him out and keepin’ him alive, he wanted to crawl back in my womb and well… I ain’t got the room no more even if he could do it.”à

Toni Morrison “sula”
“There wasn’t space for him in my womb. And he was crawlin’ back. Being helpless and thinking baby thought and dreaming baby dreams and messing up his pants again and smiling all the time. I had room enough in my heart, but not in my womb, not no more. I birthed him once. I couldn’t do it again. He was growed, a big old thing. Godhavemercy, I couldn’t birth him twice. I’d be laying here at night and he be downstairs in that room, but when I closed my eyes I’d see him… six feet tall smilin’ and crawlin’ up the stairs quietlike so I wouldn’t hear and opening the door soft so I wouldn’t hear and he’d be creepin’ to the bed trying to spread my legs trying to get back up in my womb. He was a man, girl, a big old growed-up man. I didn’t have that much room.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“One night it wouldn’t be no dream. It’d be true and I would have done it, would have let him if I’d’ve had the room but a big man can’t be a baby all wrapped up inside his momma no more; he suffocate. I done everything I could to make him leave me and go on and live and be a man but he wouldn’t and I had to keep him out so I just thought of a way he could die like a man not all scrunched up inside my womb, but like a man.
Eva couldn’t see Hannah clearly for the tears, but she looked up at her anyway and said, by way of apology or explanation or perhaps just by way of neatness, “But I held him close first. Real close. Sweet Plum. My baby boy.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“The very night before the day Hannah had asked Eva is she had ever loved them, the wind tore over the hills rattling roofs and loosening doors. Everything shook, and although the people were frightened they thought it meant rain and welcomed it. Windows fell out and trees lost arms. People waited up half the night for the first crack of lightning. Some had even uncovered barrels to catch the rain water, which they loved to drink and cook in. They waited in vain, for no lightning no thunder no rain came. The wind just swept through, took what dampness there was out of the air, messed up the yards, and went on.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“Before she trundled her wagon over to the dresser to get her comb, Eva looked out the window and saw Hannah bending to light the yard fire. And that was the fifth (or fourth, if you didn’t count Sula’s craziness) strange thing. She couldn’t find her comb. Nobody moved stuff in Eva’s room except to clean and then they put everything right back. But Eva couldn’t find it anywhere. One hand pulling her braids loose, the other searching the dresser drawers, she had just begun to get irritated when she felt it in her blouse drawer. Then she trundled back to the window to catch a breeze, if one took a mind to come by, while she combed her hair. She rolled up to the window and it was then she saw Hannah burning. The flames from the yard firs were licking the blue cotton dress, making her dance. Eva knew there was time for nothing in this world other than the time it took to get there and cover her daughter’s body with her own. She lifted her heavy frame up on her good leg, and with fists and arms smashed the windowpane. Using her stump as a support on the windowsill, here good leg as a lever, she threw herself out of the window. Cut and bleeding she clawed the air trying to aim her body toward the flaming, dancing figure. She missed and came crashing down come twelve feet from Hannah’s smoke. Stunned but still conscious, Eva dragged herself toward her firstborn, but Hannah, her senses lost, went flying out of the yard gesturing and bobbing like a sprung jack-in-the-box.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“Plague and drought were as ‘natural’ as springtime. If milk could curdle, God knows robins could fall. The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance. They knew anger well but not despair, and they didn’t stone sinners for the same reason they didn’t commit suicide—it was beneath them.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“Although it was she alone who saw this magic, she did not wonder at it. She knew it was all due to Sula’s return to the Bottom. It was like getting the use of an eye back, having a cataract removed. Her old friend had come home. Sula. Who made her laugh, who made her see old things with new eyes, in whose presence she felt clever, gentle and a little raunchy. Sula, whose past she had lived through and with whom the present was a constant sharing of perceptions. Talking to Sula had always been a conversation with herself. Was there anyone else before whom she could never be foolish? In whose view inadequacy was mere idiosyncrasy, a character trait rather than a deficiency? Anyone who left behind that aura of fun and complicity? Sula never competed; she simply helped others define themselves.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“”Sula?” she whispered, gazing at the tops of trees.
Leaves stirred; mud shifted; there was the smell of over-ripe green things. A soft ball of fur broke and scattered like dandelion spores in the breeze.
“All that time, all that time, I thought I was missing Jude.” And the loss pressed down on her chest and came up into her throat. “We was girls together,” she said as though explaining something. “O Lord, Sula,” she cried, “girl, girl, girlgirlgirl.”
It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”

Toni Morrison “sula”
“Which was only fitting, for it was in dreams that the two girls had first met. Long before Edna Finch’s Mellow House opened, even before they marched through the chocolate halls of Garfield Primary School out onto the playground and stood facing each other through the ropes of the one vacant swing (“Go on.” “No. You go.”), they had already made each other’s acquaintance in the delirium of their noon dreams. They were solitary little girls whose loneliness was so profound it intoxicated them and sent them stumbling into Technicolored visions that always included a presence, a someone, who, quite like the dreamer, shared the delight of the dream. When Nel, an only child, sat on the steps of her back porch surrounded by the high silence of her mother’s incredibly orderly house, feeling the neatness pointing at her back, she studied the poplars and fell easily into a picture of herself lying on a flowered bed, tangled in her own hair, waiting for some fiery prince. He approached but never quite arrived. But always, watching the dream along with her, were some smiling sympathetic eyes. Someone as interested as she herself in the flow of her imagined hair, the thickness of the mattress of flowers, the voile sleeves that closed below her elbows in gold-threaded cuffs.”

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