Matt Thrower
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2 answers
7 votes
328 views
Why does Linus say "I think you finished it" to Sally in this Sunday strip?
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8 votes

I think this is a play on the word "finished". Relevant definitions of "finish" from Google are: bring (a task or activity) to an end; complete. "they were straining to ...

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2 answers
5 votes
5k views
Does Charlie in “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” have a mild form of autism?
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It is possible but very unlikely. According to this interview the author, Stephen Chbosky, based the character of Charlie on himself, and some of the plot on his own teenage years in Pittsburgh. SM: ...

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2 answers
4 votes
20k views
Does Eric Birling rape Eva Smith?
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The "force" indicates rape. Eric admits elsewhere in the play that Eva let him in to her rooms, albeit unwillingly. INSPECTOR: You went with her to her lodgings that night? ERIC: Yes, I ...

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1 answers
9 votes
1k views
What is the meaning of the rescue of Tashtego?
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The metaphor is wider than Ishmael allows in the book. Birth, at the time the novel was written, was a dangerous business. The passage in question makes clear that this birth is equally dangerous to ...

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1 answers
6 votes
232 views
Historical King Ina and Shakespeare's King Lear in the writings of Thomas Hardy
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There is little doubt that Shakespeare's play is based on the British King Leir, as the OP states. However, a similar story is also attached to King Ina. Indeed, it may have started there, been ...

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1 answers
7 votes
419 views
Why did Thomas Hardy fictionalise the place names in his Wessex?
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As user Fabjaja notes in the comments, Wessex was originally a kingdom in Anglo-Saxon Britain. While some of its peers survive in modern nomenclature (such as the county of Essex), Wessex had not. The ...

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2 answers
2 votes
2k views
Why did the Witches give the prophecy in the first place?
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The Witches are supernatural in character and Satanic. They delivered a self-fulfilling prophecy to tempt Macbeth into willingly committing evil deeds to secure his soul. A common motif in mythology ...

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4 answers
4 votes
9k views
Who is the falcon, and who the falconer?
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The symbolism of the Falcon seems relatively easy to unpick. Slightly further down, Yeats explains the result of the disconnect between Falcon and Falconer is: Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ...

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1 answers
6 votes
3k views
What does "toby" mean, in London slang of Orwell's time?
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User Gareth Rees appears to be right in his assertion that the word relates to being "on the road". A quick research suggests this is the only commonly-understood meaning of "toby" in slang. Thanks ...

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1 answers
6 votes
3k views
What does 'trusting sorrow' mean here?
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7 votes

A Roadside Stand describes a small-time farmer trying to sell their produce from a stall by a busy road. The farmer is poor, wanting only a small slice of city wealth, and feels bitter that drivers ...

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2 answers
5 votes
6k views
What is the meaning of Blake's poem "The Sick Rose"?
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There is no one answer: a key part of this poem's appeal is its ambiguity. On the surface, it seems a poetic description of a rose flower sickening and dying due to a parasitic infection. However, ...

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1 answers
10 votes
2k views
Why the rubbish in Samuel Beckett's play Breath?
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The rubbish is a metaphor for life. Breath was written to be performed as part of a revue called Oh! Calcutta which was openly sexual. Breath itself opens with the sounds of birth, followed by ...

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1 answers
3 votes
2k views
What does Hunca Munca from "The Tale of Two Bad Mice" represent?
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First up, it is likely that Hunca Munca's name is not relevant to her role in the story. According to her biographer, Judy Taylor, Potter rescued two mice from a trap and decided to name them and keep ...

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1 answers
18 votes
1k views
How 'human' are the animals in The Wind in the Willows meant to look?
7 votes

I can't comment on the illustrations, but on examining the text, it seems clear that the author intended the animals to be very human indeed. When Toad shows the other animals round is canary-coloured ...

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1 answers
4 votes
847 views
How much French does Madame Eglentyne know?
7 votes

No one knows, but it is likely a joke at the expense of the Prioress. There are, as you have observed, multiple ways of interpreting this text. It could be that Parisian French is radically ...

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1 answers
10 votes
7k views
Why was the ending of "And Then There Were None" changed for the stage version?
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7 votes

And Then There Were None was originally published in 1939 at the outbreak of World War 2. The author adapted for the stage in 1943 when the war was at its apex. According to Hilary Strong, CEO of "...

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1 answers
10 votes
3k views
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and Wayfarers All
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7 votes

The answer to this question lies in the genesis of the book. Grahame invented these characters in stories told to his son, who suffered a variety of health problems and eventually committed suicide. ...

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1 answers
4 votes
7k views
The significance of Lucky's speech in 'Waiting for Godot'
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6 votes

Beckett himself, while directing the play, offered an explanation. He said of Lucky's speech that: "The threads and themes of the play are being gathered together" And that it's theme was: "...

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1 answers
5 votes
89 views
Children's book (maybe German) I read in about 1995, fox and badger need to dig a tunnel to escape from farmer guarding their burrow's exit
6 votes

This is almost certainly the English book Fantastic Mr Fox by famed children's author Roald Dahl. I don't have the text to hand, so I'm going to quote from the Wikipedia plot summary. The story was ...

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1 answers
4 votes
232 views
Inconsistencies in the character of Horatio in Hamlet
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I have found two possible explanations for this. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to ever know which - if either - is correct. 1: It's a Punctuation Error According to W. Edward Farrison in his essay ...

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1 answers
10 votes
10k views
What is the relationship between Heart of Darkness and The Hollow Men?
6 votes

There is an immediate and direct connection between the two. Toward the conclusion of Heart of Darkness the narrator, Marlow, describes Kurtz as "hollow to the core" (p72). By this, he means that Kutz ...

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1 answers
6 votes
401 views
What's polybdenum?
6 votes

It appears to be a rarely-used word for a metal alloy containing molybdenum. Most of the references I found to the term were not public access and did not describe what "polybdenum" meant in the ...

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2 answers
6 votes
809 views
Why is Ishmael sometimes seen as an unreliable narrator? Does he ever actually lie in the text?
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6 votes

There are a number of reasons why Ishmael might be considered unreliable, although none of them is conclusive. In most cases, there is an alternative explanation for Ishmael's seeming duplicity. It ...

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1 answers
6 votes
713 views
What does "pull down the blinds" mean in Yeats's poem "The Mountain Tomb"?
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6 votes

Yeats was Irish, and in literal terms this is a reference to the Irish Catholic funeral custom of a Wake. "Blinds" here refers to a window-covering. In Yeats' era, wooden shutters, sometimes known as ...

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2 answers
11 votes
10k views
In what sense did Yossarian love the chaplain?
6 votes

It may be that he didn't: that this is purely coincidental. Heller had long nurtured an ambition to be a novelist and was working as an advertising copywriter when he began Catch-22. The inspiration ...

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1 answers
4 votes
10k views
What does "the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty" mean here?
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6 votes

The phrase is purposefully biblical and is used to denote Gatsby's inflated but empty ego. First, let's provide a dictionary definition of the unusual word "meretricious". apparently attractive ...

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1 answers
7 votes
103 views
Stories From the Year Without a Summer
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Essentially, Yes. The other stories were abandoned. On that famous night, there were four people trying their hands at ghost stories: Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, his wife to be Mary Godwin and John ...

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1 answers
9 votes
716 views
Is there any significance to the races of mates and harpooners in Moby Dick?
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Yes. The mixture is a metaphor allowing Melville to explore the unequal relationship between whites and non-whites in Melville's time. It is worth noting that throughout the book, whiteness, in ...

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1 answers
8 votes
4k views
How much of the sequel to the Princess Bride was written?
6 votes

No. Nothing else has ever been officially published regarding the sequel. Yes. In a 2007 interview with Pictures Magazine, Goldman says he would love to write a sequel, but has been unable to do so to ...

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1 answers
6 votes
583 views
Why does only one of R. S. Thomas' poems conform to traditional poetic devices?
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6 votes

The reason is because it is not entirely Thomas' own work: it is a translation of a traditional Welsh song (obtained here). Ar noswaith ddrycinog mi euthum i rodio Ar lannau y Fenai gan ddistaw ...

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