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9
votes
2answers
229 views

Are there any species that are not sentient?

The Redwall series is full of talking animals. The main characters are usually mice or badgers. We see many examples of animals that are sentient; there are mice, shrews, sparrows, crows, cats, owls, ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Is Strattenburg, Pennsylvania based on a real town?

The Theodore Boone book series by John Grisham takes place in the fictional town of Strattenburg, Pennsylvania. Is Strattenburg, Pennsylvania based on a real town?
5
votes
0answers
38 views

Did John Grisham base The Scandal on a specific incident?

In The Scandal by John Grisham, Theodore Boone finds out that cheating occurred in the administration of annual standardized tests. It is common knowledge that such cheating scandals occur on a fairly ...
-1
votes
2answers
83 views

How accurate are the laws in Theodore Boone?

In Theodore Boone, John Grisham mentions several laws, such as about putting flyers on poles, drunk driving, and other random laws. How accurate are these? Are real laws, anywhere? Examples: Theo ...
10
votes
1answer
136 views

Had people related the work of Gogol before “The Nose”?

In The Nose, an opera by Demitri Shostakovich, Shostakovich combines many of Nikolai Gogol's stories, including The Nose, for which the opera is named, into a single story. Had previous critics or ...
11
votes
3answers
44k views

What happened at the end of The Giver?

At the end of The Giver, Jonas and Gabe head down through the snow to a place where there is music. Downward, downward, faster and faster. Suddenly he was aware with certainty and joy that below, ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

In “Our Lady of the Tall Trees,” who is the Lady, and what is the song trying to say about her?

I've decided to ask this question here, in light of the consensus that songs seem to be on-topic. I've tried to keep it to lyrics because there's been some debate about whether the music of a song is ...
16
votes
8answers
5k views

Why does Robert Frost contradict himself in “The Road Not Taken”

In Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" (which you can read online), the narrator gives two contradictory reasons for taking a particular fork in the road. At the beginning of the poem, the ...
-8
votes
1answer
417 views

Has Lorem ipsum ever been analyzed as a poem by literary critics or scholars?

Lorem ipsum is a popular filler text. Have any literary critics or scholars analyzed it as a poem? Here's an example of Lorem ipsum: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Do the female Dwarves in Tolkien's Legendarium also have beards?

In The Return of the King, Appendix A, there's this quote about female dwarves: Dís was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Was “First They Came …” a poem in German?

As I mentioned in another question, I have seen inconsistencies in the recounting of the poem, First They Came .... This led me to look it up and find out that the English poem comes from a collection ...
3
votes
0answers
114 views

How did the text of “First They Came …” evolve?

I have read and heard people read many different versions of "First They Came ..." and according to the Wikipedia article, it was originally published in English by Milton Mayer. This led me to wonder ...
8
votes
1answer
282 views

Are there any internal inconsistencies in Catch 22?

Because of Catch 22's twisted timeline, while reading it, several times I had the distinct impression that what seemed to have happened so far in the past was different from what apparently happened ...
10
votes
4answers
818 views

What is the oldest literary award?

The Wikipedia page for literary awards lists inauguration dates for international awards, and of those the earliest of those is the Nobel Prize in 1901. However, I don't know about non-international ...
6
votes
1answer
466 views

Why are there no elevators in the silo in Wool?

The silo is very large, with more than one hundred floors. There are people whose whole jobs are to transport things up and down through the silo itself. I feel like with everything else they created, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the significance of the title of the book Wool?

So far, the title doesn't seem to have a whole lot to do with the book content itself. The chapter titles are seemingly all knitting related, and I know the cleaners use wool pads to clean the lenses ...
10
votes
2answers
544 views

Did Ratty have a housekeeper?

Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece, The Wind in the Willows, describes the adventures of five friends, four of whom are, apparently, bachelors. We can infer that Mole was a bachelor since (1) he did his ...
11
votes
1answer
177 views

Did the Strugatsky brothers ever comment on “predicting” the Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry?

In the foundational novel of their Noon universe, Noon, XXII century (Полдень, XXII век), published in 1961, the Strugatsky brothers "predicted" the notorious Kasparov-Karpov World Chess ...
9
votes
1answer
269 views

Was J.R.R. Tolkien building on a past tradition when relying heavily on languages he made up?

It is a uncontested and well known fact that Tolkien was a linguist, and he wrote Middle-Earth as a setting for his languages. However, what interests me is whether the approach he took was out of ...
18
votes
1answer
392 views

How much did forensic science at the time of Sherlock Holmes' publication influence it?

Was Arthur Conan Doyle influenced by any particular forensic techniques or methods used in his time? Were there any specific ones utilized a lot in the Sherlock Holmes series? And if so, what were ...
18
votes
1answer
975 views

Did Lady Macbeth communicate signs of her instability prior to the blood scene?

I'm looking back on Macbeth, and I'm wondering something that's piqued my interest again. There's a very well-known scene in Macbeth: the blood-spot scene, the hand-washing scene, and other such names....
8
votes
1answer
284 views

Why did Jo consider Ned and Jack to be failures?

In Jo's Boys in chapter 5, it is stated, Jack and Ned sent regrets and best wishes, and no one mourned their absence; for they were among what Mrs. Jo called her failures. Why were these two in ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What does it mean to laugh like the letter k?

In Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros, the symbolic meaning of one line is quite confusing. The narrator is referring to her grandfather (abuelo), and she says he: who used to laugh like the letter k I'...
11
votes
1answer
154 views

Why did “Some Answered Questions” get re-translated?

Some Answered Questions was first published into English in 1908, but was "extensively retranslated" in 2014. Why was a retranslation needed? I assume it has to do with the dual origin of the English ...
9
votes
1answer
377 views

Is there a canonical map of Thomas Hardy's Wessex?

Most if not all of Thomas Hardy's novels are set in the fictional(ish) English region of Wessex. He uses many real towns and locations as settings, but gives them fictional names: for instance, Oxford ...
26
votes
1answer
12k views

Are quote marks used selectively in “The Handmaid's Tale” or do I have a bad scan of the book?

I've just begun reading The Handmaid's Tale and I'm a bit distracted by the usage (or non-usage) of quote marks in the version I have (ebook). In the second chapter, the handmaid is describing her ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How is William Carlos Williams's affection expressed in “The Red Wheelbarrow”?

In the poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, there is no specific mention of any person. However, he wrote that the poem "sprang from affection" for an old man named Marshall, to ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What is “This is Just to Say” about?

In "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, the speaker appears to deliver an apology for stealing the plums of the person at whom the poem is targeted. I have heard some people analyze this ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the “good night” symbolize in Dylan Thomas's “Do not go gentle into that good night”?

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas, he begins with "Do not go gentle into that good night". He also uses this as one of two alternating refrains. In this poem, what does the "good ...
-6
votes
2answers
3k views

How does the ring end up where Déagol found it?

In the Lord of the Rings series Sméagol/Gollum murders his friend Déagol for the ring. It is also stated that Déagol found the ring in Gladden Fields. How did the ring get there? And which book this ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

Was Skin Games the first where Harry withheld information?

In the book Skin Games, the currently latest book in The Dresden Files, Harry intentionally withholds information from the reader for a surprising reveal later in the book. Is this the first instance ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Where did the term Kwisatz Haderach in Dune originate?

I've always been curious how names and words are created in literature. Having finished the main Dune books last year, I was thinking how the term "Kwisatz Haderach" came about. Did Herbert make it up,...
14
votes
2answers
809 views

What does it mean to greet a guest with an unsheathed sword?

In A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, when Tyrion Lannister visits Winterfell on the way back from the Wall: “Any man of the Night’s Watch is welcome here at Winterfell for as long as he wishes to ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Erma before the greener grass

I remember when Erma Bombeck's "The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank" came out. Everyone was talking about and sharing copies of the book. It was probably the first non-Scifi work that ...
11
votes
1answer
17k views

Which order is recommended for the “Commonwealth” novels?

The Commonwealth Saga of Peter F. Hamilton is comprised of several novels spanning centuries, characters and planets. Unfortunately, the publishing order does not concur with the in-universe order. ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Why was the book Animal Farm banned in non-communist countries?

I understand why it was banned in the USSR, because it's pretty blatant satire of the USSR. It's also still banned in North Korea for the same reason. But why was it banned in the United Arab ...
16
votes
1answer
357 views

What did Suzanne Collins base the Hunger Games on?

Authors tend to pull a lot of ideas or write stories based on other works. After reading the novel Battle Royal, I saw lots of similarities between it and the Hunger Games. Do we know of anything that ...
1
vote
3answers
832 views

Why don't these lines rhyme in Les Miserables?

In Castle on a Cloud from Les Miserables, There is a room that's full of toys, There are a hundred boys and girls I know it's translated from French, but why isn't it girls and boys? There ...
12
votes
1answer
633 views

What does the physical Scarlet Letter represent?

I love The Scarlet Letter, but I surprised to find out that I did not even know what it was supposed to represent. Its significance seemed to change throughout the book. Is there one central symbol ...
17
votes
2answers
262 views

Why does Miss Havisham drive fast cars?

In Jasper Fforde's "book world," Miss Havisham is a speed demon who races cars with Mr. Toad. This seems... out of character, based on my understanding of her. Is it just funny because it's ...
8
votes
1answer
198 views

Was this character's death symbolic in Bridge to Terabithia?

As a child, reading Bridge to Terabithia, I was horrified when As an older reader now, I wonder whether her death was necessary to the development of Jessie. Was her death for a purpose, or was it ...
5
votes
0answers
37 views

Who abducted Addison in “Wit's End”?

In Fowler's Wit's End (also published as The Case of the Imaginary Detective), we see a flashback where Addison is abducted at age three. It's a strange scene. There are three people involved; she ...
21
votes
2answers
13k views

How to read é, ä, û?

If I want to read Tolkien's text aloud, or appreciate the rhythm and rhyme in his poems, I find it distracting not to know how names including these characters (and similar ones) were meant to be ...
5
votes
0answers
68 views

Did Timrod inspire Dylan before 'Modern Times'?

Bob Dylan's album Modern Times has many passages famously inspired by (some say plagiarised from) the poetry of Henry Timrod. Do any of Dylan's earlier works also clearly reflect the influence of ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does Old Major in Animal Farm represent?

Old Major, the elder pig in Animal Farm, seems to have a different role than the younger ones. I believe he has a different view, but after he dies, the young pigs don't follow his legacy. What does ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the point of the hen in Juan Rulfo's “They Gave Us the Land”?

The short story "Nos han dado la tierra" ("They Gave Us the Land") is a dismal portrayal of the Mexican government's land reform in the mid-20th century. A group of men are given ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

Which is the 'correct' version of the Lady of Shalott and why are there two?

It seems Tennyson wrote two versions of The Lady of Shalott. They are quite similar but have some big differences, for instance: Earlier version: On either side the river lie Long fields of barley ...
20
votes
2answers
942 views

Why does the Lady of Shalott stay instead of stray?

In Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott" there is the following verse: There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Did Evelyn Waugh ever attempt to write a screenplay?

Waugh's early novels, especially Vile Bodies, are notable for a "cinematic" style of pacing, with relatively short segments of narrative being "cross-cut" to build tension. It's noted in his ...
10
votes
1answer
330 views

How do I get started with the Cthulhu mythos?

Having encountered a number of references to Cthulhu in various places over the years, I would like to explore the various works based in the Cthulhu mythos. Out of curiosity, I had read The Call of ...

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