All Questions

7
votes
3answers
934 views

Understanding the key in The Waste Land

A passage from the fifth part of the poem The Waste Land (which you can read online) says: Dayadhvam: I have heard the key Turn in the door once and turn once only We think of the key, each in ...
8
votes
0answers
112 views

Was Isidora's fate in Melmoth the Wanderer directly inspired by Faust?

When reading Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer I couldn't help but notice that Isidora's fate largely resembled Gretchen's in Goethe's Faust and especially the endings of both storylines ...
11
votes
1answer
594 views

How long was the Little Prince on Earth?

In The Little Prince, the titular little prince lands on Earth. How long was he there? If I recall correctly, the prince left on the 8th day of the pilot being lost in the desert. I don't know if ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

In 1984, why does O'Brien expect Winston to know what Room 101 is?

In 1984, O'Brien expects Winston to know what Room 101 is. I know that Room 101 is more torture, but why would O'Brien expect Winston to know that? ‘What is in Room 101?’ The expression on O’...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

Do any of J. D. Salinger's short stories share locations or characters?

J. D. Salinger is a well-known 20th century author, most notably of Catcher in the Rye. He was fairly prolific, writing many stories. Do any of these stories share the same universe?
9
votes
1answer
521 views

Was Catcher in the Rye autobiographical?

Was Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in any way based on Salinger's earlier life, like the works of Charles Dickens?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is Troy the antagonist in “Fences”?

Is Troy the antagonist of the play Fences? The antagonist is, by definition, the opposer to the protagonist, who is also Troy. However, Troy often acts against his own beliefs (i.e., sending Gabe to ...
14
votes
1answer
382 views

Why all those tangents?

Anyone who's ever read Victor Hugo's immortal masterpiece Les Miserables knows that it's a long read...mostly because Hugo goes on a bunch of random tangents in the middle--on such topics as the ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Do I need to read the Redwall books in any specific order?

The Redwall series by Brian Jacques is pretty long - ~40 books, iirc. They all focus on different characters, but there are lots of people that appear in lots, such as Martin the Warrior Do I have ...
7
votes
1answer
319 views

Why did George have to kill this character?

In Of Mice and Men, I never understood why it was necessary for when George simply could've pulled some sort of diversionary tactic and falsely led the rest of the lynch mob somewhere else in the ...
18
votes
1answer
755 views

What specific criticisms did Mark Twain make against Jane Austen's books?

It's pretty well known that Mark Twain was rather vitriolic against Jane Austen, saying things like: I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

In 1984, why did O'Brien wait so long?

In Orwell's 1984, O'Brien knows well that Julia and Winston are enemies of the Party when they come to his house to pledge their allegiance to the Brotherhood. Why doesn't he immediately arrest them ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

Who illustrated “Exotic Zoology”?

I love the illustrations in Willy Ley's Exotic Zoology, which appear to be line art. Sadly my copy is a battered library-discard; either the front matter never attributed the artist or it was on a ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Do I need to read the Hardy Boys books in order?

The Hardy Boys books are a bunch of mystery novels, written by Franklin W. Dixon. They all focus on the Hardy Brothers, Frank and Joe. I have some of the series, but not all of them (especially not ...
8
votes
1answer
675 views

How many of Shakespeare's words in his plays were new?

William Shakespeare is famous for using many words in his plays which were new introductions to the English language. According to Shakespeare Online: The English language owes a great debt to ...
22
votes
1answer
416 views

Is the mariner immortal?

I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach. This is one of the last ...
6
votes
1answer
209 views

Has a parody of a work of literature ever become more successful than the original work? [closed]

I was thinking of this when I read Nineteen-Neighty-Four, a fanfic with My Little Pony ponies in a 1984-ish world. Parodies can be really successful as a way of challenging another work, or the ideas ...
11
votes
1answer
106 views

Are the talking animals real or figments of the Little Prince's imagination?

The Little Prince meets some animals that can talk: for example, a fox and a snake. Well, we know[citation needed] that they can't actually talk, but do they really exist or are they just figments of ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

Why are some people dissatisfied with the titling of “The Red Wheelbarrow”?

I have read that many critics have been dissatisfied with the modern titling of XXII from Spring and All by William Carlos Williams as "The Red Wheelbarrow". Neil Easterbrook was displeased with the ...
12
votes
3answers
314 views

What are the challenges in translating a work of literature?

I'm currently in the process of reading Cyrano de Bergerac (translated by Charles Renauld). There, an introduction is made by Adolphe Cohn, said to be the Professor of the Romance languages and ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Did the mechanical hound signify anything in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is written with many recurring symbols. After reading the book, I never thought that the mechanical hound was one of them, though my friend told me otherwise. Did the ...
9
votes
1answer
57 views

Did Leckie consult with the audiobook narrators on pronunciation?

I love how Adjoa Andoh narrates the audiobook version of Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, especially her pronunciation of Radchaai words and her singing. Did Leckie give Andoh those pronunciations ...
15
votes
1answer
714 views

Symbolism of “hot gammon” in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

I'm reading T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read for free online) and one particular line stuck out at me: Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, And they ...
12
votes
3answers
497 views

Who chained the albatross to the mariner's neck?

In the long poem by Samuel Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the mariner talks about an albatross being chained to his neck: Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. ...
11
votes
1answer
235 views

Why is Daphne Farquitt never seen?

In the Thursday Next series, there is an author named Daphne Farquitt. She is a prolific and popular writer, although all her books are pretty much the same unimaginative love stories. (With one ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

Winston Smith lives in London, a city in the superstate of Oceania. As shown in the map here, Oceania consists of all of the Americas, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In the modern world today, ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Should Go Set A Watchman be read before To Kill A Mockingbird?

Given that Go Set A Watchman takes place after To Kill A Mockingbird, we would think that we should read it second. However, Go Set A Watchman was probably a first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird. I am ...
1
vote
4answers
806 views

Why didn't Hermione or Dumbledore use the Time-Turner to defeat Voldemort?

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Albus Dumbledore hands Hermione the 'Time-Turner', which they use to free Buckbeak and later on to rescue Sirus Black. One spin on the Time-Turner equals one hour ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

Are there any debated authorship references in Thursday Next series?

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series is a sort of fantasy about literature. Much of the story line about the books and literary characters that appear in this series is obviously made up, but there ...
15
votes
1answer
508 views

How does the golden bough in “Sailing to Byzantium” relate to the story in the Aeneid, if at all?

According to Wikipedia of W.B. Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Yeats explores his thoughts and musings on how immortality, art, and the human spirit may ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

In The Bet, why does the lawyer willingly stay fifteen years instead of five years for no extra reward?

In The Bet by Anton Chekhov, the lawyer voluntarily accepts to stay in prison for 15 years, instead of the original agreed upon 5 years. Here's the relevant passage: "The death sentence and the ...
10
votes
1answer
571 views

In de Maupassant's Two Friends, why does the colonel allow the two men to go into a warzone?

In Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant, the two men wish to go fishing in a warzone and are allowed to do so by the colonel who controls the checkkpoint between the safety of Paris and the warzone ...
9
votes
1answer
137 views

Where did Gerrit de Veer publish his diary?

Not so long ago I saw the film Nova Zembla, a fictionalized retelling of the voyage as described in Gerrit de Veer's diary. On his Wikipedia page, there is only one mention about his published diary: ...
9
votes
1answer
11k views

Why do the March sisters call their mother Marmee?

I'm curious about the nickname the March sisters in Little Women use for their mother and I'd like to know its meaning and significance. After some research, it seems Louisa May Alcott used the ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Who or what does Benjamin the donkey represent in Animal Farm?

Benjamin is the old, irritable donkey who doesn't care who's in control, because he says that work will be the same either way. He is one of the few on the farm who can read, and who still remembers ...
-5
votes
1answer
297 views

Why was the Obscurus omitted?

In the Fantastic Beasts Character Guide, there's a section that contains most of the animals that were shown in the movie. However, curiously, the Obscurus is missing from the book, despite its ...
10
votes
1answer
830 views

From where did David Foster Wallace draw inspiration for writing style and technique?

D.F.W. has a peculiar writing style. For example, in his essay, Authority and American Usage, he makes use of a colloquial form of writing which is often repeated in his other essays. An example of ...
12
votes
0answers
103 views

Was “Earthly Powers” actually based on Burgess' private, and secret life?

The gay-oriented book Earthly Powers (1980) was narrated by an 81-year-old successful, homosexual writer, Kenneth Toomey, a figure loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham. However, it seems that ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Did Piggy participate in the killing of Simon?

This spawns off an argument that my friend and I had. I had always assumed that he had, however my friend disagreed. The main point I cited, Piggy's attempt to console Ralph while also trying to ...
11
votes
1answer
282 views

Would a reader of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea miss anything essential without knowing about Jane Eyre?

I read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea without ever having heard of Jane Eyre. I didn't see even it was a prequel to another work, because I try to avoid spoilers on the back of the book. What, if ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

What reference is Shakespeare making in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth?

In Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth there is this line. What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes. Someone two days ago told me this is a reference to a different piece of literature. I didn't ...
6
votes
1answer
264 views

What are the Stephen King connections in The Dark Tower series?

There's plenty of connections to King's other works in The Dark Tower. Most notably Salem's Lot. What other connections are there, no matter how big or small?
19
votes
5answers
12k views

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

It's well known that various characters represent real Soviet figures. Who does the cat, who is fond of shirking physical work but enjoys reaping the rewards, represent? Does the cat even have any ...
29
votes
1answer
7k views

George Orwell's 1984 banned for contradictory reasons?

The book 1984, being about suppression of information itself, was banned in the USSR for being anti-communist, but it also was banned in the USA for being pro-communist. Is there any analysis where ...
15
votes
1answer
834 views

What do the other farmers symbolize in Animal Farm?

I asked this question on the old literature site, it got migrated to the science fiction and fantasy site, and then was later closed as off-topic. I figured that I might as well ask the question here. ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

Does “The Charge of the Light Brigade” glorify war or criticize it?

The Charge of the Light Brigade is an 1854 narrative poem at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. Does it glorify war or criticize it?
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Who does Mollie represent in Animal Farm?

It's well known that various characters represent real Soviet figures. Who does Mollie, the horse sympathetic to the humans, represent? Is she just a generic non-Soviet sympathizer or does she ...
8
votes
1answer
461 views

Are the Goosebumps books connected in any way?

In the Goosebumps series, are any of the books, except for the sequels, connected to each other? I.e. characters appearing in another book. For instance, if Slappy the dummy appeared in the book ...
18
votes
1answer
131 views

How wide was the exploration of Japan's culture in American literature before 1905?

Prior to Russo-Japanese war and Teddy Roosevelt's efforts to end it, I don't recall USA being overly involved with Japan. As such, was that reflective in American literature? How wide/common was the ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are Drizzt's eyes purple?

In R. A. Salvatore's books The Legend of Drizzt series, the main character Drizzt Do'Urden is a Drow, a species in Forgotten Realms that live underground and far cousins to elves. Drow have ...

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