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14 views

Meaning of “What is in here?”

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner What is this, thought Vicki. What is in here? It is a warehouse, it has no walls or rooms. There is a row of windows, each one shaped like an ...
2
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0answers
12 views

The Turn of the Screw: Arguments in favour of the governess being a reliable narrator

I'm writing an essay in which I have to outline arguments both for and against the reliability of the governess in The Turn of the Screw. There are endless sources arguing that she is unreliable but ...
2
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0answers
47 views

Is Jules Verne making fun of the English in Around the World?

I just began reading Verne's Around the "World in Eighty Days and Phileas Fogg had just fired his servant for giving him warm water that was by 2 Fahrenheit degrees off (roughly 1 Celsius degree)....
13
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3answers
5k views

What does this quote from The Great Gatsby mean?

Here's the quote: My commutation ticket came back to me with a dark stain from his hand. That any one should care in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head made damp the pajama ...
2
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0answers
20 views

Tragedy About Bear Whose Mom Died

Trigger warning: question mentions death, depression, abuse of animals. I haven't been able to find this short story. I don't recall if I heard it as part of a podcast or read it online. The story ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Are there any books in the classic Hardy Boys series where the boys don't get kidnapped?

As far as I can see, in every single book of the original Hardy Boys series the brothers get kidnapped in chapter 19. From a cursory glance, I can tell that this applies to The Hooded Hawk Mystery, ...
26
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2answers
2k views

Did Poe plagiarise someone else's work when writing “The Raven”?

I've read that Poe's been accused of lifting significant elements from many authors including Elizabeth Barrett, Charles Dickens, Leo Penzoni, and Thomas Holley Chivers (and "unknown," of course). ...
2
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1answer
93 views

The earliest novel with a robot who isn't “human enough”

Thomas Jones, writing about the Kazuo Ishiguro novel Klara and the Sun, says: Ishiguro doesn’t get tangled up in the complexities of neural networks, machine learning, algorithms or the difficulties ...
0
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0answers
22 views

What is meant when light is described as 'metallic'? [migrated]

I have seen this used quite a few times in novels. Two examples are: Molasses buckets appeared from nowhere, and the CEILING DANCED WITH METALLIC LIGHT. -To Kill a Mockingbird Aureliano...sitting ...
8
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4answers
6k views

Why did Shams refuse to sleep with Kimya?

Towards the end of Elif Şafak's The Forty Rules of Love, specifically the book-within-a-book Sweet Blasphemy which is largely a retelling of the real-life story of Shams and Rumi, Shams gets married ...
2
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2answers
82 views

Why is a special license needed to get married?

In a lot of historical romance novels (specifically those set in Regency England), people decide to get married very suddenly a lot of the time. You see this a lot in the marriage of convenience trope,...
10
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1answer
182 views

Teenager in orphanage or prison

I am looking for a story that was part of a Reader's Digest anthology. I read in the very early 1990s as a German translation, but I am pretty sure, the story is from the USA (and was probably written ...
4
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1answer
115 views

Do ALL of the Redwall books include the death of a major character?

I read most of Brian Jacques's Redwall books in the 2000s, and one of the things I always noticed was how seemingly every book has at least one major character die: for example, Am I right in saying ...
5
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1answer
127 views

How long does the story of Watership Down take?

I'm doing a re-read of Watership Down, and it seems that the action of the story is taking place over much less time than I remembered: e.g. from the start of the story to Hazel and Bigwig meeting ...
-2
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0answers
24 views

What are some good novels on unfulfilled desires [closed]

I have read " A House for Mr. Biswas" and I am quite influenced by it. The story about a man's desire for his home is quite touching and intimate for me. The house that he desires, doesn't ...
16
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1answer
9k views

Was Holden Caulfield molested as a child?

In chapter 24, Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's place to stay for the night. He crashes on the couch, and suddenly is woken up by Mr. Antolini stroking his (Holden's) hair while he sleeps. There are, ...
9
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1answer
133 views

Looking for a story about a boy deformed by factory work - I think it's an O. Henry

I've been trying to find this story for years. I remember reading it in Reading class as a kid (in the 1960s or early 70s). This would have been in a 4th or 5th grade reading book in New York State. ...
2
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2answers
49 views

What's the meaning of “catching or missing something” in this sentence from “A Stoic” by John Galsworthy?

I'm translating a novel by John Galsworthy, A Stoic, written at the beginning of the XX century (full text on Project Gutenberg), and I've come across a sentence I’m finding quite tricky to understand:...
9
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1answer
3k views

In “On The Face of It” by Susan Hill, why did the author decide to kill Mr. Lamb at the end of the story?

"On The Face of It" by Susan Hill (a 5-10 minute read) is part of my curriculum, and I'm genuinely confused as to why the author decided to kill Mr Lamb at the end. The entire story is about optimism ...
18
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4answers
5k views

Why is Gatsby great?

Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is no doubt smart, talented, and brave. But he only pursues his own egoistic desires, is quite delusional in his love affairs, does not hesitate to ...
10
votes
2answers
769 views

Is there a term for epic poetry’s detailed, successive introductions of multiple characters?

I’ve noticed a topos in a few epic poems I’ve read where a long list of characters is given, each receiving practically a paragraph of description. In The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, Jason’s ...
6
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0answers
116 views

In Finnegans Wake, surely the dreamer is this character?

As I see it, Finnegans Wake has two main sections, namely Section A (“dreamland” [1-617.29]) and Section B (“anna’s interior monologue” [617.30-628]). Section A and Section B are my terms and there is ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Why was Fontane's copy of Thackeray's Vanity Fair confiscated by English customs?

When Theodor Fontane travelled to London in September 1855, the three volumes of his copy of William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair were confiscated by customs. As far as I can tell, Vanity Fair ...
11
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3answers
8k views

Were all of Shakespeare's plays fully in iambic pentameter?

Were the plays within The Complete Works of Shakespeare entirely in iambic pentameter? I seem to recall singing bits (when there were lyrics) from Twelfth Night and definitely from Much Ado About ...
2
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0answers
20 views

In Effi Briest, what is the meaning and significance of a “wide field”?

I noticed a similar phrase recurring twice in the conversation between Effi's parents in Chapter V of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online: Miss Hulda had clinked her glass too ...
1
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0answers
27 views

Why does Sir Harry like Matthias's poem and not Basil's?

In Mattimeo, Chapter 29, the rescuers' party encounters Sir Harry, an owl who speaks in poetry for much of his dialogue. For one example, this is how he introduces himself: "Why, pray, do you ...
7
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1answer
516 views

Where in the New York City metro area does Ludwik live?

In Tomasz Jedrowski's Swimming in the Dark, set in the early 1980s, the narrator, Ludwik, commutes to midtown Manhattan for work. The text makes clear that he has to cross a river to get there: This ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Meaning of the dialog in bold and “sour street light”

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Up there under the leafless vine they were talking. Vicki saw their breath. From the angles of their bodies she could tell they were arguing. ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

What is the significance of Derry opening the gate panting despite it being “always open”?

In On the Face of It by Susan Hill, Lamb says that the gate is always open and he does not like closing things [Dialogues of scene 1]. But then, why does Derry open the gate panting (Scene 3)? What is ...
4
votes
1answer
45 views

What does “perverse madonna” mean?

What is a "perverse madonna"? In the short story "The Boarding House" by James Joyce, Polly is compared to a "perverse madonna". Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she ...
3
votes
2answers
332 views

Meaning of “Now things can only get better” and “starry cold” in the passage below

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter emptied his bowl for the last time, then lifted it in both hands and licked it out, pushing his face right into it. There was soup on ...
2
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0answers
51 views

Why did Victor Pelevin's books fail to get such popularity as they had in Russia? [closed]

Victor Pelevin is presumably the most best-selling contemporary writer in Russia. Several of his books have been translated to English, but none of them became even slightly popular among the Western ...
4
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0answers
64 views

Identification of a Maupassant short story where a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress

In a short story by Maupassant, a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress, a rather paradoxical situation since he came much later after the infidelities (and somehow benefited ...
2
votes
1answer
19 views

What’s the meaning of these lines spoken by Bluntschli?

In Act III of G. B. Shaw's play Arms and the Man everyone gets to know each other’s doings. Louka got engaged to Sergius, and Catherine agreed with Bluntschli’s and Raina’s relationship. But then ...
3
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2answers
73 views

Explanation of a pargraph from “Five Children and It”

I can't understand this paragraph from Five Children and It. What does it mean? Please explain. The shadows got longer and longer, and at last there were no separate shadows any more, but one soft ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Why would Image Comics publish “Sunstone”, after it was released as a webcomic?

Stjepan Sejic's Sunstone was first published as a webcomic on his DeviantArt account (and is still available there), as was his Death Vigil. Linda Sejic's Blood Stain is published on her DeviantArt ...
2
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0answers
28 views

What was Briest implying with his “Very true, very true”?

In Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, an exchange between Effi and her mother in Chapter IV seems to betray Effi's lack of love for her fiance Innstetten. Later, in Chapter V, ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Why would Derry's mother not allow Derry to go back to Mr. Lamb?

In the play "On the Face of It", why did Derry's mother not allow Derry to go back to Mr. Lamb? What had she heard and been warned about Mr. Lamb from others?
12
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1answer
1k views

What are the “torch dance” and “garter dance”, in 19th-century Germany?

From Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, during the wedding of Effi and Innstetten in Chapter V: The dancing had continued till three o'clock, with the effect that Briest, who ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Which Maupassant short stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870?

I read somewhere that Maupassant wrote ten short stories on the 1870 war between France and Prussia. I know "Boule de suif", "Deux amis", "Un duel", "Madame Sauvage&...
3
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3answers
7k views

Why does the narrator in “Stopping by Woods” stop by the woods?

In Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Frost: Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with ...
3
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2answers
73 views

What does “Ministry of Angels” refer to in “The History of Spiritualism”?

What does "Ministry of Angels" refer to in Volume I of The History of Spiritualism by Arthur Conan Doyle? Judge Edmonds was pointed at in the streets as a crazy Spiritualist. Wealthy ...
7
votes
3answers
968 views

Who are all the Priestesses and Gods?

In Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series, there are the Aeslin mice, who believe the Price/Healy men are their gods, and the women are their Priestesses. They give them all names (like the Arboreal ...
7
votes
2answers
155 views

What is the earliest book where bad spelling is primarily for humor value?

I've enjoyed books like Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and The BFG by Roald Dahl, where bad spelling and grammar (the BFG's extensive writing on the dream jars) are an integral part of the joke, and ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

What do you call a break in rhyming in the middle of a book / poem for dramatic effect?

I'm creating a children's book for a school project. I've been tasked to identify some literary devices used throughout the book. There is a section of the book which I want to highlight because it ...
0
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0answers
114 views

Was Ewing Klipspringer supposed to be a gay character in “The Great Gatsby”?

Was Ewing Klipspringer supposed to be a gay character in "The Great Gatsby"? My theory is that he is gay, considering there is textual evidence, and that he lives in Gatsby's home. Here are ...
4
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0answers
41 views

How does Bacchus fit into the Christian allegory of Narnia?

The setting and story of The Chronicles of Narnia are strongly linked to Christianity: Aslan, who sacrifices himself for a traitor in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before returning to life, ...
8
votes
2answers
177 views

Identify a poem entitled Mock Song, written in middle English in the 13th-15th centuries

I'm looking for a middle English poem, written in the 13th-15th centuries, which I only have in translation (to Hebrew). The translated poem is found in a chapter that contains three additional poems, ...
15
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2answers
2k 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 this map, Oceania consists of all of the Americas, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In the modern world today, Oceania ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the Emperor Beyond the Sea named that?

Closely related: Why does the Emperor-Over-the-Sea play such a small role in the Chronicles of Narnia? Why is the Emperor Beyond The Sea in The Chronicles of Narnia named that? What sea is he beyond, ...

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