All Questions

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the point of the sandy beach in “A Dream Within a Dream”?

The main thrust of Edgar Allan Poe's poem "A Dream Within a Dream" concerns the existential angst of the narrator, and his fear that "all that we see or seem" is nothing but "a dream within a dream". ...
3
votes
0answers
30 views

WWIII novel by fighter plane veteran, set in East Asia (first chapter in Japan)

In 2010 I read a book about WW III and I've been trying to find it again since. It's quite an impossible search since as far as I remember the title is 'war'. What I remember: Written by a fighter ...
7
votes
1answer
238 views

Goosebumps-esque story about a group of kids visiting an alternate black and white world

I remember reading a story when I was young (so 1990's) about a group of kids, possibly middle school or high-school age, that end up traveling to an alternate reality that's in black in white. I ...
4
votes
0answers
1k views

What is the explanation for the two versions of Lucifer's fall from Heaven in “The Sandman” and “Lucifer”?

In Season of Mists, the fifth book of The Sandman series, in chapter 2, Lucifer explains that rebelled against god, and was cast out of Heaven to Hell, along with his lieutenants. This version of ...
10
votes
1answer
615 views

Why is Nausicaa named 'burner of ships'?

Nausicaa in the Odyssey is the princess of a race of seafarers. She and her people are beloved of and descended from Posidon/Neptune. Nausicaa herself is directly descended from both sides as her ...
5
votes
2answers
203 views

Was the pun on the word 'reading' intentional in “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”?

In the beginning of "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", while Holmes and Watson are on the train, we see this line: We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holmes had ...
12
votes
1answer
331 views

Are the inconsistencies in Harry Potter symbolic or allegorical?

(I asked a more verbose version of this question on Sci Fi & Fantasy where it didn't go down well. It seemed to get bogged down in whether or not the Potterverse really is "inconsistent". But I ...
6
votes
1answer
608 views

Is the song “Mabel Grey” by Brown Bird an allusion to a real ship?

The song Mabel Grey, by Brown Bird contains peculiar lyrics. The lyrics are awfully specific about what happened to this ship, which is a common pattern I see when a song is referent to a real-life ...
10
votes
1answer
137 views

Does this passage in “I Am a Cat” reference a real Western novel?

In Chapter 2 of I Am a Cat (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy with his master: “Ah, and ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Who is the author of the quote: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges”?

I narrowed my search to two Newton: Joseph Fort Newton and Isaac Newton. I think the first one did it. I see four solutions: Joseph Fort Newton wrote it. Isaac Newton wrote it. Both wrote it (maybe ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What was the original “The Sound of Silence” about?

I've had this version, by the Maccabeats, of the classic song "The Sound of Silence" stuck in my head for a while. (because @Shokhet linked me to it.... -_-) This version, by Jew in the City and the ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between a philosophical novel and a novel of ideas?

Wikipedia calls the novel of ideas a subgenre of philosophical fiction, without defining the first term. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (2010) uses the terms "novel of ideas" and "...
4
votes
0answers
51 views

Is “Listen Nations” referring to any incident in particular?

"Listen Nations" is one of the songs on the album Miami Meets Toronto, in which the Miami Boys Choir and the Toronto Boys Choir (both started by Yerachmiel Begun) sing together. The song is about the ...
11
votes
1answer
937 views

In “The Importance of Being Earnest”, what does 'Or they come in the evening, at any rate' mean?

In The Importance of Being Earnest, when Lady Bracknell asks Jack about his politics, he answers "Liberal Unionist". Here's the exchange: Lady Bracknell: What are your politics? Jack: Well, ...
4
votes
1answer
236 views

Did Conan Doyle's belief in the supernatural influence his fiction writings in any way?

Arthur Conan Doyle was a believer in the supernatural. My source here is from the Muse magazine, published by Cricket Media, in the October 2011 issue, page 6, by Doug Stewart. One of the English ...
10
votes
0answers
608 views

A story in which a young girl saves a poor boy from a factory owner and meets that boy decades later

Yesterday, I was reading a 5th grader's comprehension book. It had multiple excerpts from good (if not well-known) novels. One of them particularly stood out to me. It was about a woman who lived in ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

What happens at the end of Book 1 of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop?

I'm reading Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. I thought I was fully comprehending the story, until the return of John Boot at the end of Book 1. When they had gone, Mrs. Stitch said: "I must go too. Just tell ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Why was the ending of “And Then There Were None” changed for the stage version?

Agatha Christie's famous crime story And Then There Were None was written both as a book and later as a play by Christie herself. However, when adapting her own story for the stage, she made a ...
3
votes
0answers
241 views

What secret did David whisper to Meg at the end of “The Sculptor”?

Scott McCloud's The Sculptor opens with the following scene, where Meg asks David to whisper her something: Click for larger image The scene is expanded at the very end of the novel, where Meg ...
9
votes
1answer
350 views

Were the Just William stories written for adults or children?

Just William is an enduring series of stories about an errant schoolboy from a solidly upper-middle class family in Edwardian England. Due to their subject and humorous nature they are typically ...
8
votes
2answers
456 views

Why does “The Five Orange Pips” devote an entire paragraph at the beginning to the case with the watch?

"The Five Orange Pips" opens with two rather large paragraphs. The first one describes that there are a lot of good cases. The second, however, goes into detail about one of these cases - 180 words ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the quote “We do not describe the world we see, we see the world we can describe” trying to convey?

We do not describe the world we see, we see the world we can describe. I need help with understanding this quote and what it's trying to convey.
3
votes
0answers
588 views

Is the hook of Marethyu meant to evoke a scythe?

Marethyu is a central character in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. You can read more about him here, but that Wikia page contains major spoilers for the series, so follow that link at ...
7
votes
2answers
156 views

Book set in Britain about a boy with Asperger's whose dad's name was Chris

I've been getting back into reading fiction recently after taking a break from books. I've been going back over old books that I used to read at my high school, and there's this one book I want to ...
11
votes
1answer
168 views

Did George Orwell ever feel that Spain would be better off under Franco?

I recently read an article at Foreign Policy (archived here) stating the following: [Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom] grounds Churchill and illuminates the grim conclusions Orwell didn’...
5
votes
1answer
564 views

Was “It was a dark and stormy night” deliberately purple prose?

Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel Paul Clifford is most famous for its opening phrase, "It was a dark and stormy night". Today, this phrase is seen as a textbook example of purple prose - writing which is ...
9
votes
2answers
584 views

Was Holmes written as a drug user in A Study In Scarlet?

In The Sign of the Four, Holmes is a drug user: Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morroco case. With his long, white, ...
4
votes
0answers
94 views

Understanding the technique of “lightening” in Calvino's writing

I'm reading the paper "Erasing the Invisible Cities: Italo Calvino and the Violence of Representation" by John Welsh (which you can read for free online). I've read and enjoyed Calvino's Invisible ...
2
votes
0answers
79 views

What is the essence of Undershaft's moral argument in Major Barbara?

I can discern certain Nietzschean undertones such as Undershaft's idealization of the will to power. I also understand Undershaft's discussion on the problem with describing poverty and starvation as ...
2
votes
0answers
24 views

Is it significant that the eyes being reflective are proof that a Soul is inside in “The Host”?

The eyes being reflective are proof that a Soul is inside of the body in The Host, and is used as verification by both Souls and humans: "Look, look, look!" he says. He pulls a small cylinder from ...
5
votes
2answers
107 views

Why should a teacher's cat care less about human robbery?

I started reading Natsume Sōseki's I Am a Cat a week or two ago in preparation for this month's topic challenge, and I came across the following paragraph towards the end of the first chapter (whose ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

“wind” or “wind”? re: Little Gidding, II.50

yet the words sufficed To compel the recognition they preceded. And so, compliant to the common wind, Too strange to each other for misunderstanding, In concord at this intersection time ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

What do the night and day in “The Unreturning” symbolise?

I now understand the poem "The Unreturning" much better than I did when I asked this question, thanks to Peter's excellent answer and my reading through it several more times and more carefully. It's ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

What is Asimov's joke in “Death of a Foy”?

I recently came upon a short story, Death of a Foy (1980), in the compendium The Winds of Change (1983). In the intro, Asimov states that he was "hardly able to stop laughing", but I just can't seem ...
6
votes
1answer
427 views

Why was the text of “HaTikvah” changed?

"HaTikvah," Israel's national anthem, was adopted from an earlier poem called "Tikvateinu," by Naftali Herz Imber. Here is the official text of the anthem (translation and transliteration can be found ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Why was the early draft of “Atrocities” so significant?

Siegfried Sassoon's poem "Atrocities" (full text here) describes the murder of German prisoners by British soldiers during WWI. According to Wikipedia: The discovery in 2013 of an early draft of ...
3
votes
1answer
452 views

Who is the speaker in “The Unreturning”?

Wilfred Owen's poem "The Unreturning" (full text here) seems remarkably free of context - it never says explicitly what it's about, what's happening, which "dead" are being talked about, who or what ...
4
votes
1answer
717 views

On the use of the word “thief” in Imagine Dragons' “Thief”

The chorus of Imagine Dragons' "Thief" (from the deluxe version of the album Smoke + Mirrors), written by Clare Reynolds and Natalie Maree Dunn, goes like this: So take me back When I believed ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

Trying to find a quote: Salt on top of the mountain, instead of snow

Google has failed me. I am trying to recall a quote I read once, which goes something like this: "I have reached the mountain peak I saw in my youth, but it is not snow here; it is only salt." Meaning,...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

What is it with British occultism and Brussels sprouts?

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens is set in England, and one of the characters is Madame Tracy, who makes her living by doing "occult" seances, either by using a crystal ball or a Tarot ...
36
votes
10answers
17k views

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I spent an extensive amount of time as an undergrad writing about and researching The Hobbit, especially in terms of Tolkien's famous essay on Beowulf. Getting a sense of what inspired Tolkien greatly ...
9
votes
1answer
71 views

Which items from Elliot S! Maggin's novel “Last Son of Krypton” mirror the Superman mythos of the comics in the same era?

It's a well-documented fact that the character of Superman has undergone many shifts over the decades. In 1978, Elliot S! Maggin's first Superman novel The Last Son of Krypton was published. Now, you ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

What is the purpose of Owl Eyes in Great Gatsby?

Scott Fitzgerald rarely puts characters or events that have do not either have an underlying message or support in the character development of the lead characters. Therefore I was confused as to what ...
6
votes
1answer
248 views

The Old Man And The Sea - why didn't Santiago cut up at least part of the Marlin, and stored them on board of the skiff?

In Hemingway's book The Old Man And The Sea, after catching the mighty Marlin, and coming to the conclusion that the sharks are probably going to consume the entire Marlin - why didn't Santiago just ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

What is happening in issue #1 of “Black Magick”?

The first issue of Black Magick opens with a pagan ritual being done during full moon. A circle member's phone rings, and the ritual is interrupted, and the following panels take place (behind a ...
5
votes
1answer
134 views

What is Number Five's real name?

In the story The Fifth Head of Cerberus, the protagonist has a name which is never stated explicitly, different from the "Number Five" by which his father and aunt refer to him. I told [my ...
11
votes
1answer
927 views

Is there any indication that Poe feared live burial?

Many of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories feature burial while alive; in one case, the subject of the story actually suffers from taphophobia before his own live burial. (Wikipedia helpfully includes a ...
3
votes
2answers
410 views

Why would one call a Japanese Jew “Sosumi”?

While doing some background research for another question about Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, I stumbled upon this article, which mentions the following exchange: . . . I don't get this. The first ...
8
votes
1answer
321 views

Who narrates “Ars Arcanum” in The Alloy of Law?

I just finished The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. As is the norm in many of Sanderson's Cosmere books, the story is followed by a short section titled "Ars Arcanum," with a description of some of ...
2
votes
1answer
800 views

Why does Lucifer mention Raguel and Sandalphon as possible rebels among the angelic host?

In chapter two of Season of Mists, Lucifer mentions the angels Raguel and Sandalphon as angels who could rebel [against God]: Why those two angels?

15 30 50 per page
1
51 52
53
54 55
71