İngilizce -Türkçe kitap özetleri

Konusu 'Yabancı Dil Eğitimi - The Foreign Language Educati' forumundadır ve Suskun tarafından 23 Ocak 2011 başlatılmıştır.

  1. Suskun

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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    by Harper Lee



    To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story of Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, in 1930’s Alabama. Through their neighborhood meanderings and the example of their father, they grow to understand that the world isn’t always fair and that prejudice is a very real aspect of their world no matter how subtle it seems.

    The summer when Scout was six and Jem was ten, they met Dill, a little boy who spent the summer with his aunt who lived next door to the Finches. Dill and Jem become obsessed with the idea of making Boo Radley, the neighborhood recluse, come out of his home. They go through plan after plan, but nothing draws him out. However, these brushes with the neighborhood ghost result in a tentative friendship over time and soon the Finch children realize that Boo Radley deserves to live in peace, so they leave him alone.

    Scout and Jem’s God-like father, Atticus, is a respected and upstanding lawyer in small Maycomb County. When he takes on a case that pits innocent, black Tom Robinson against two dishonest white people, Atticus knows that he will lose, but he has to defend the man or he can’t live with himself. The case is the biggest thing to hit Maycomb County in years and it turns the whole town against Atticus, or so it seems. Scout and Jem are forced to bear the slurs against their father and watch with shock and disillusionment as their fellow townspeople convict an obviously innocent man because of his race. The only real enemy that Atticus made during the case was Bob Ewell, the trashy white man who accused Tom Robinson of raping his daughter. Despite Ewell’s vow to avenge himself against Atticus, Atticus doesn’t view Ewell as any real threat.

    Tom Robinson is sent to a work prison to await another trial, but before Atticus can get him to court again, Tom is shot for trying to escape the prison. It seems that the case is finally over and life returns to normal until Halloween night. On the way home from a pageant, Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout in the darkness. After Jem’s arm is badly broken, their ghostly neighbor, Boo Radley, rescues Scout and her brother. In order to protect Boo’s privacy, the sheriff decides that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife while he was struggling with Jem. Boo Radley returns home never to be seen again.

    Through the events of those two years, Scout learns that no matter their differences or peculiarities, the people of the world and of Maycomb County are all people. No one is lesser or better than anyone else because they’re all people. She realizes that once you get to know them, most people are good and kind no matter what they seem like on the outside.



    *********************************




    The Black Cat-




    For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not - and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified - have tortured - have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror - to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place - some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

    From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

    I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

    This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point - and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

    Pluto - this was the cat’s name - was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

    Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character - through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance - had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me - for what disease is like Alcohol! - and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish - even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

    One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

    When reason returned with the morning - when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch - I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

    In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had once so loved me. But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart - one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself - to offer violence to its own nature - to do wrong for the wrong’s sake only - that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; - hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; - hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; - hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin - a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it - if such a thing wore possible - even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.

    On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. The curtains of my bed were in flames. The whole house was blazing. It was with great difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from the conflagration. The destruction was complete. My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair.

    I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. But I am detailing a chain of facts - and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the middle of the house, and against which had rested the head of my bed. The plastering had here, in great measure, resisted the action of the fire - a fact which I attributed to its having been recently spread. About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention. The words “strange!” “singular!” and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvellous. There was a rope about the animal’s neck.

    When I first beheld this apparition - for I could scarcely regard it as less - my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd - by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which, with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

    Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the less fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place.

    One night as I sat, half stupified, in a den of more than infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my hand. It was a black cat - a very large one - fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of the breast. Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it - knew nothing of it - had never seen it before.

    I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go home, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. I permitted it to do so; occasionally stooping and patting it as I proceeded. When it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became immediately a great favorite with my wife.

    For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated; but - I know not how or why it was - its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually - very gradually - I came to look upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence.

    What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes. This circumstance, however, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures.

    With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly - let me confess it at once - by absolute dread of the beast.

    This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil - and yet I should be at a loss how otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own - yes, even in this felon’s cell, I am almost ashamed to own - that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimaeras it would be possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I have spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees - degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a long time my Reason struggled to reject as fanciful - it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name - and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared - it was now, I say, the image of a hideous - of a ghastly thing - of the GALLOWS! - oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime - of Agony and of Death!

    And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast - whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed - a brute beast to work out for me - for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God - so much of insufferable wo! Alas! neither by day nor by night knew I the blessing of Rest any more! During the former the creature left me no moment alone; and, in the latter, I started, hourly, from dreams of unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thing upon my face, and its vast weight - an incarnate Night-Mare that I had no power to shake off - incumbent eternally upon my heart!

    Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates - the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.

    One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan.

    This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar. Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard - about packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than either of these. I determined to wall it up in the cellar - as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

    For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of the walls was a projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled up, and made to resemble the red of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily displace the bricks at this point, insert the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could detect any thing suspicious. And in this calculation I was not deceived. By means of a crow-bar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over the new brickwork. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself - “Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain.”

    My next step was to look for the beast which had been the cause of so much wretchedness; for I had, at length, firmly resolved to put it to death. Had I been able to meet with it, at the moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous anger, and forebore to present itself in my present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. It did not make its appearance during the night - and thus for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon my soul!

    The second and the third day passed, and still my tormentor came not. Once again I breathed as a freeman. The monster, in terror, had fled the premises forever! I should behold it no more! My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted - but of course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future felicity as secured.

    Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.

    “Gentlemen,” I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, “I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this - this is a very well constructed house.” [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] - “I may say an excellently well constructed house. These walls are you going, gentlemen? - these walls are solidly put together;” and here, through the mere phrenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom.

    But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! - by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman - a howl - a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

    Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!

    Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Suskun

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    Walden Book

    by Henry David Thoreau




    Walden is Henry David Thoreau’s account of the two years he spent living in a small cabin he built in the woods next to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. The book roughly follows the seasons of the year, and uses the seasonal changes as a framework in which to talk about wealth, money, academic study, nature, and spirituality. Thoreau begins with a long chapter on Economy, stating his case for moving to the woods, not paying taxes (for which Thoreau was jailed briefly during his two years at Walden), and surviving only off what he grew on the land near his cabin. A life of simplicity, for which he argues in the first chapter, is a recurring theme throughout the book.

    Thoreau considers many aspects of the world around Walden. He allows each thing he spends time examining to take his thoughts towards higher moral and intellectual standards, as well as towards a very honest and respectful celebration of nature. He is particularly excited about the character, appearance, and characteristics of Walden Pond, and spends much of the book both describing the pond and singing the praises of its uniqueness.

    Not content to limit his observations to the natural world only, Thoreau chronicles his encounters with many hunters, loggers, and other manual laborers who come to the pond. An entire chapter is dedicated to people who once lived near the pond, but have since passed away. He also mentions some of his closest friends and intellectual partners, who regularly pay visits to Thoreau.

    Although Thoreau places a higher value on natural observation than anything else, he also places great weight on knowledge, and thoughtful, careful intellectual argument, which he feels is best undertaken in a natural setting. Thoreau quotes from many spiritual books, including Hindu, Christian, Confucian, and Roman writings. He also treats many books on farming, botany, and other aspects of nature as if they were religious texts.

    Thoreau concludes the book by writing about truth, which he feels can be found both in nature, and in people who fully live up to their potential. In addition, he reiterates his feeling that people should never presume to be important or exceedingly valuable until they have succeeded in exploring every part, not of the world, but of themselves. Thoreau says that he left the woods to explore other parts of himself.



    ******************************




    The Two Towers




    The Two Towers is composed of Books 3 and 4, recounting the deeds of the company after the breaking of the Fellowship of the Ring. The story begins with the repentance and death of Boromir, who has tried (unsuccessfully) to wrest the ring away from Frodo. Merry and Pippin are kidnapped by orc-soldiers and they are taken towards Isengard, while Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are in pursuit. The Riders of Rohan appear, led by Éomer the Marshal, and they destroy the orcs. The hobbits escape and meet Treebeard, the Ent, secret master of Fangorn. Treebeard rouses the Tree-folk against Isengard and the forces of evil.

    Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli cross paths with Éomer and they meet Gandalf again, who is returned from death as the White Rider, veiled in grey. With Gandalf, they advance to the halls of King Théoden and Gandalf heals the king and rescues him from the spells of Wormtongue, an evil counselor who is in secret league with the enemy. The combined forces continue on towards Isengard, a fortress that has been destroyed by the Tree-folk. Saruman and Wormtongue are trapped in the tower of Orthanc. Saruman will not repent before Gandalf and so Gandalf breaks his staff and removes him from the council of wizards. Wormtongue throws a stone out of the window but he fails to it Gandalf; the stone turns out to be a palantír, one of the Seeing Stones of Númenor. Peregrin picks it up and gives it to Gandalf, but later in the night he falls to the lure of the palantír and steals it. When he looks into it, he is revealed to Sauron. Gandalf forgives Pippin and he gives the palantír to Aragorn, riding away (with Pippin) towards Minas Tirith.

    Book Four (the second half of The Two Towers) focuses on Frodo and Samwise, who arelost and wandering through the somber war-torn region of hilly Emyn Muil. Gollum (who is also called Sméagol) as been spying on the hobbits and following their trail. Here in Emyn Muil, Frodo tames Gollum and Gollum serves Frodo (at least temporarily) as a servant serves his master. Gollum leads Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes until they reach the Morannon, the Black Gate of the Land of Mordor in the North. They are unable to pass through the gate and so Frodo accepts Gollum’s advice to seek a “secret entrance” which is at the western walls of Mordor in the Mountains of Shadow. As they continued on the journey, the travelers encountered Faramir, the brother of Boromir, who was leading a scouting-force of the Men of Gondor. Faramir learns about the Ring but he overcomes the temptation that overcame his brother, Boromir. Faramir helps the hobbits by replenishing their dwindling supplies. Frodo, Sam and Gollum make their way to Cirith Ungol, the Spider’s Pass. Faramir warned Frodo and Sam that this pass was a place of mortal peril, of which Gollum had told them less than he knew. The travelers reach the Cross-roads and take the road that leads to Minas Morgul; in the darkness, they can see the mobilization of Sauron’s first army, led by the black King of the Ringwraiths.

    Gollum guides the hobbits to a secret path that strays away from the city and they reach Cirith Ungol. Here, Gollum betrays the hobbits, intending to lead them to a monster called Shelob, who would devour them. Gollum’s plan is frustrated by Sam’s bravery: he chases Gollum away and wounds Shelob, as well. Frodo is stung by Shelob and he appears dead. Sam concludes that he must continue the quest alone and abandon his master, but as he is about to cross into Mordor, Sam overhears the orcs. He learns that Frodo is not dead but drugged. The orcs carry Frodo’s body down a tunnel leading to the rear gate of the tower and Sam is unable to keep up with them. He passes out and Book 4 comes to an end.

    J.R.R. Tolkien




    *************************************



    Alice in Wonderland




    Alice is sitting with her sister outdoors when she spies a White Rabbit with a pocket watch. Fascinated by the sight, she follows the rabbit down the hole. She falls for a long time, and finds herself in a long hallway full of doors. There is also a key on the table, which unlocks a tiny door; through this door, she spies a beautiful garden. She longs to get there, but the door is too small. Soon, she finds a drink with a note that asks her to drink it. There is later a cake with a note that tells her to eat; Alice uses both, but she cannot seem to get a handle on things, and is always either too large to get through the door or too small to reach the key.

    While she is tiny, she slips and falls into a pool of water. She realizes that this little sea is made of tears she cried while a giant. She swims to shore with a number of animals, most notably a sensitive mouse, but manages to offend everyone by talking about her cat’s ability to catch birds and mice. Left alone, she goes on through the wood and runs into the White Rabbit. He mistakes her for his maid and sends her to fetch some things from his house. While in the White Rabbit’s home, she drinks another potion and becomes too huge to get out through the door. She eventually finds a little cake which, when eaten, makes her small again.

    In the wood again, she comes across a Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom. He gives her some valuable advice, as well as a valuable tool: the two sides of the mushroom, which can make Alice grow larger and smaller as she wishes. The first time she uses them, she stretches her body out tremendously. While stretched out, she pokes her head into the branches of a tree and meets a Pigeon. The Pigeon is convinced that Alice is a serpent, and though Alice tries to reason with her the Pigeon tells her to be off.

    Alice gets herself down to normal proportions and continues her trek through the woods. In a clearing she comes across a little house and shrinks herself down enough to get inside. It is the house of the Duchess; the Duchess and the Cook are battling fiercely, and they seem unconcerned about the safety of the baby that the Duchess is nursing. Alice takes the baby with her, but the child turns into a pig and trots off into the woods. Alice next meets the Cheshire cat (who was sitting in the Duchess’s house, but said nothing). The Cheshire cat helps her to find her way through the woods, but he warns her that everyone she meets will be mad.

    Alice goes to the March Hare’s house, where she is treated to a Mad Tea Party. Present are the March Hare, the Hatter, and the Dormouse. Ever since Time stopped working for the Hatter, it has always been six o’clock; it is therefore always teatime. The creatures of the Mad Tea Party are some of the must argumentative in all of Wonderland. Alice leaves them and finds a tree with a door in it: when she looks through the door, she spies the door-lined hallway from the beginning of her adventures. This time, she is prepared, and she manages to get to the lovely garden that she saw earlier. She walks on through, and finds herself in the garden of the Queen of Hearts. There, three gardeners (with bodies shaped like playing cards) are painting the roses red. If the Queen finds out that they planted white roses, she’ll have them beheaded. The Queen herself soon arrives, and she does order their execution; Alice helps to hide them in a large flowerpot.

    The Queen invites Alice to play croquet, which is a very difficult game in Wonderland, as the balls and mallets are live animals. The game is interrupted by the appearance of the Cheshire cat, whom the King of Hearts immediately dislikes.

    The Queen takes Alice to the Gryphon, who in turn takes Alice to the Mock Turtle. The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle tell Alice bizarre stories about their school under the sea. The Mock Turtles sings a melancholy song about turtle soup, and soon afterward the Gryphon drags Alice off to see the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

    The Knave of Hearts has been accused of stealing the tarts of the Queen of Hearts, but the evidence against him is very bad. Alice is appalled by the ridiculous proceedings. She also begins to grow larger. She is soon called to the witness stand; by this time she has grown to giant size. She refuses to be intimidated by the bad logic of the court and the bluster of the King and Queen of Hearts. Suddenly, the cards all rise up and attack her, at which point she wakes up. Her adventures in Wonderland have all been a fantastic dream.

    Lewis Carroll
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    Paradise Lost

    by John Milton




    Paradise Lost is John Milton’s elaboration of Genesis into an epic poem. The poem begins with Milton’s invocation to a muse for help. The action switches to hell, where Satan and his followers have been banished from heaven after trying to rebel against God. Bitter, they try to make the best of things by building the palace Pandemonium, all the while plotting whether to get revenge against God by war or trickery.

    After much debate, they finally decide to try to sabotage the new world of earth and mortal man that God has created. Satan sets off for earth, and meets his offspring, Sin and Death, at the gate of hell. They let him pass, and he journeys onward. Meanwhile, God sees Satan approaching earth and predicts the fall of man. When no one else does, God’s Son offers to sacrifice himself to save man.

    Satan flies to the sun, where he tricks Archangel Uriel into leading him to Paradise. Satan finds Adam and Eve there and becomes jealous of their happiness. He hears Adam telling Eve that they mustn’t eat the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. Meanwhile, Uriel warns Gabriel and some other Archangels that one of the fallen angels has entered Paradise. Satan is caught in the shape of a toad trying to whisper to Eve in her sleep and is thrown out of Eden. God eventually tells Raphael, another Archangel, to go warn Adam and Eve about Satan, and remind them that they have the power of free will to determine their fate. Raphael tells Adam and Eve all about Satan and his rebellion, and how God’s Son threw them into hell. He speaks of a time when heaven and earth could become one, and leaves Adam and Eve with a final warning.

    Unfortunately, Satan hasn’t been sufficiently deterred and returns to Paradise as a mist. He then inhabits a serpent. He is thrilled to find Eve all by herself and convinces her that she should eat from the Tree of Knowledge since it only made him “more perfect” and could make her a goddess. Adam, distraught at Eve’s mistake, debates what he should do until he finally eats from the tree and joins whatever fate awaits Eve. Adam and Eve become lustful, then hostile toward each other, and finally see shame in their nakedness. God’s Son comes to earth and tells them they will not die right away, but gives them punishments such as painful childbirth and hard labor in the fields.

    Meanwhile, Sin and Death know that Satan has succeeded and build a pathway for his speedy access between hell and earth. Satan comes back to hell expecting celebration, but he and his followers are turned into serpents and tormented by a copy of the Tree of Knowledge, which turns to ashes instead of bearing real fruit. Back on earth, Adam and Eve finally make amends. God sends Archangel Michael to send them out of Paradise, but first Michael shows Adam visions about other unfortunate events that will arise from his disobedience. Adam is sad at first, but cheers up when he knows God’s Son will someday reward the righteous and punish the sinners. Finally, Adam and Eve sadly leave Paradise hand in hand, awaiting their future.




    *****************************



    Return of the King




    The events of The Return of the King fall between the years 3019 and 3021, with most of the novel’s action falling between March 9 and March 25 of the year 3019. Though the story is not presented in chronological order, the events can be arranged in sequence and Tolkien offers a calendar that even assigns scenes to specific dates. This third novel of the trilogy begins with Gandalf and Pippin heading towards Minas Tirith (March 5, 3019). The next day finds Aragorn in battle against the Dunedain, while Theoden leaves the Hornburg fortress and sets out for Harrowdale. Aragorn eventually wins his battle and heads towards Dunharrow, arriving on the night of the 7th. The next day is crucial to the story, as Aragorn takes the “Paths of the Dead.” Gandalf arrives at Minas Tirith with Pippin and Lord Denethor does not receive Gandalf so warmly, as he is resigned to the fate of his inevitable defeat.

    March 10 is the “Dawnless Day;” during the Muster of Rohan, the Rohirrim ride from Harrowdale and when Faramir is trapped in battle outside the gates of Minas Tirith, it is Gandalf who rescues him in dramatic fashion. Aragorn has still not arrived at his destination, crossing Ringlo and reaching points in Linhir and then Lebennin. Meanwhile, Lorien is being attacked‹yet another battle in a war that is being fought on at least three fronts at any given time. The Ents defeat the invaders of Rohan, while Aragorn drives the enemy towards Pelargir and Theoden camps under Minrimmon while Faramir has no option but to retreat to the Causeway Forts. Midway through March is when we find heated action on the battle front as well as in the story of Frodo and Sam. The Return of the King continues the story of Frodo and Sam after Frodo is captured by the Orcs of Cirith Ungol (March 13). This is the same day in which the Pelennor is overrun, Faramir is wounded and Aragorn reaches Pelargir. The next day, Sam finds Frodo in the tower.

    Minas Tirith suffers under siege and on March 15 (which we might identify as the “Ides of March”) the side of good suffers several blows: The Witch-King finally breaks down the walls of the city (Minas Tirith); Denethor is unsuccessful in murdering his wounded son, though he is successful in burning himself to death on his funeral pyre; Lorien is assaulted for a second time; and Theoden is slain in battle. If there is any hope remaining, as Gandalf notes, it is with Frodo, Sam and the Ring. On this day of battle, Sam and Frodo escape from the tower, disguised as orcs. This disguise has a negative consequence when the hobbits are apprehended by orcs later on and presumed to be mutinous orc-soldiers‹but at least their true identity is hidden, and the two hobbits eventually escape from the ranks of the orc army (March 18, 19).

    By the time of this second escape, the commanders have debated (”The Last Debate”) and the Battle of Dale has been fought. King Brand and King Dain Ironfoot are both killed. Meanwhile, Shagrat (an orc) presents Frodo’s cloak, mail-shirt, and sword to Barad-dur. If March 10 was “the Dawnless Day,” March 22 is “the dreadful nightfall.” This is when Lorien is assaulted for a third time and deep in the realm of Mordor, Frodo and Sam are forced to leave the road and head due south‹towards Mount Doom. On the 18th, Aragorn and the Host of the West marched from Minas Tirith and on the 23rd, they pass through Ithilien. Out of sympathy, Aragorn releases some of his soldiers from their duty, as they are without hope and faint-hearted. Only the bravest remain with him. Victory comes with Frodo and Sam’s success: they reach Mount Doom on March 24, and the following day, marks the scene in which Frodo is about to complete his mission, only the evil power of the Ring overcomes his good intentions. Frodo suddenly feels compelled to keep the Ring for himself. As Sauron realizes that his Eye has been diverted from the true threat, his evil power rushes towards Mount Doom to make an end of Frodo and Sam. Gollum reappears after a long absence and successful rips the Ring away from (invisible) Frodo, tearing Frodo’s finger off in the process. Gollum’s wrestling sets him off-balance, however, and he falls into the Cracks of Doom, destroying the Ring in the process.

    An eagle rescues Frodo and Sam, returning them to the company of Gandalf, Pippin and the others. The power of Sauron has been destroyed and only comparatively minor and administrative tasks remain. Aragorn officially comes into the royal seat that was prophesied.

    When the Hobbits finally make their way back to the Shire, they find that the Shire has been altered for the worse‹it is “all very gloomy and un-shirelike.” They find that a sizeable portion of the population has been jailed as they were unwilling to obey Mr. Lotho (a hobbit who serves as a self-appointed mayor) and his henchman, Sharkey. The hobbits successfully chases out the henchmen and Sharkey reveals himself to be Saruman. Saruman laughs with revenge because he has destroyed so many of the homes and gardens of Hobbiton. He stabs Frodo, but the hobbit is wearing a coat of mail beneath his garment and the knife does no damage. Frodo remains patient and forgiving and he refuses to strike at Saruman, but this only angers Saruman. Asking about Mr. Lotho, the hobbits learn from Saruman that Wormtongue (Grima) has killed him‹but Wormtongue is enraged because Saruman forced him to do this. Wormtongue then draws his own knife and cuts Saruman’s throat. Wormtongue is shot dead with arrows. Saruman’s body emits a grey mist and then it dissolves into nothing.

    The cleansing of the Shire does not take as long as Sam fears. One of the initial tasks at hand is the release of the prisoners who have been locked up by Sharkey and Mr. Lotho. Sam remembers the gift of Galadriel: a box that was filled with a grey dust and a small seed. Sam spreads this dust and in a year’s time, it does the work of twenty years. The trees and flowers return, the children grow beautiful and strong, and pretty much everybody is happy.

    Sam gets married to Rose Cotton and they move in with Frodo, who still suffers his ailment. Frodo finishes nearly all of the writing before he passes the project on to Sam to finish the final pages. Sam becomes the mayor in Frodo’s place and Frodo prepares for his departure with Gandalf to the shores of the Sea. Sam, Merry and Pippin ride along with them, and there are also the Elves, Bilbo, Elrond and Galadriel. All of the ring bearers must depart from Middle Earth and so they board the great ship and sail away. The three hobbits return to their lives in Hobbiton and enjoy the rest of their lives.

    J.R.R. Tolkien




    ********************************



    The Sun Also Rises

    by Ernest Hemingway




    Robert Cohn, shy and insecure, is plagued by feelings of inferiority because he is Jewish. He starts boxing to feel better about himself. He marries the first girl he dates after college. Though unhappy with her, it is a great blow to his ego when she leaves him. He moves out to California and meets a new woman. They travel to Europe, where he writes a novel. After he goes to America to get it published, he loses his shyness but becomes mean and egotistic. Undirected, he tries to get his friend Jake Barnes to go to South America with him. But Jake is not interested.

    Jake meets a girl at a café, and he brings her with him to the Bal, a dance club. At the dance club he runs into Brett, the love of his life. During World War I Jake was injured and is now impotent; Brett loves sex, and she cannot give it up, even to be with a man she loves. Cohn is there and can barely take his eyes off Brett, but she and Jake leave the club together.

    They ride around Paris and talk about why they can’t be together. They kiss, but cannot go beyond that. Jake goes home alone and thinks about things and cries. He falls asleep, only to be awakened by the sound of an argument downstairs. It is Brett, drunk. She comes up, but soon leaves. She makes a date with Jake for tomorrow, but another man, a count, is waiting for her now.

    The next day Cohn comes by and he and Jake go out for lunch. Cohn asks Jake about Brett, and Jake tells him she’s engaged. Cohn thinks he’s in love with her. Cohn gets mad when Jake, annoyed by Cohn’s questions, tells him to go to hell.

    Brett doesn’t show up to meet Jake. Jake runs into his friend Harvey Stone, a broke gambler. When Cohn comes by he and Stone nearly have a fight. Cohn, who has writer’s block, is not happy. He doesn’t want to marry his girl, Frances, and she is not very happy about this. She humiliates Cohn in public, and he takes it all in silence.

    Brett and the count come to Jake’s that night for drinks. Brett and Jake talk more about how they love each other. For his sake, she says, she’s going away to San Sebastian for awhile. The three go out to a club and Jake and Brett dance together.

    Jake’s friend Bill Gorton arrives, and the two get ready for their trip to Spain. When they go out they see Brett at a café. She is with Mike Campbell, her fiancé. Mike is hanging all over Brett, and he manages to invite himself and Brett onto Jake’s trip to Spain.

    Brett asks if Cohn will be on the trip. She was with him in San Sebastian. Jake is jealous and angry, mostly with Cohn. Despite the awkwardness, Cohn still wants to come on the trip. Bill and Jake will meet Cohn in Bayonne, then travel to Pamplona to meet the rest of the group.

    Cohn arrives, and the three of them rent a car and head for Pamplona. Brett and Mike are supposed to arrive that night, but do not. They have stayed over in San Sebastian, and Cohn, uninvited, goes to see them. Jake and Bill continue on to Burguete, and spend a few days fishing. It is very pleasant, and they make a new friend. They receive a note from Mike, who will be in Pamplona that day. Bill and Jake leave for Pamplona.

    Jake and Bill find Mike, Brett, and Cohn at a café. Mike and Brett seem annoyed with Cohn. Mike is especially angry with Cohn, who followed Brett all around San Sebastian. He and Cohn almost have a fight.

    The fiesta starts. It is a week of drinking and partying, with bull-fights every day. The group drinks and parties all night. Jake meets Pedro Romero, one of the bull-fighters. In the ring, Romero is wonderful. Brett becomes infatuated with the attractive young bull-fighter.

    One day during the festival it rains, so there are no bull-fights. Jake and his friends have a drink with Romero. Brett talks to Romero, and Mike is very obnoxious. Mike and Cohn almost have another fight. Jake and Brett go for a walk, and Brett confesses she’s in love with Romero. Jake finds Romero, and arranges it so Romero and Brett can go off together.

    Cohn finds Jake, and demands to know where Brett is. He calls Jake a pimp, then he beats him up. Jake goes back to the hotel, and Bill tells him to go see Cohn. Cohn is crying, and begs Jake for forgiveness. Jake reluctantly forgives him. Cohn plans to leave in the morning.

    Jake learns that Cohn beat up Romero last night. Romero demanded Cohn leave in the morning. Brett now spends all her time with Romero, who was badly hurt in the fight. Romero still fights in the last bull-fight. His first bull has bad sight, but the second one is healthy and Romero shines. He is much better than the other two fighters. That night, Brett leaves with Romero. She does not say good-bye to Jake.

    The festival is over and Jake heads north with Bill and Mike. They then go their separate ways, Jake travelling alone to San Sebastian, where he swims, reads, and relaxes after the stressful time in Pamplona. He is only there a few days when he receives a telegram from Brett, who is in Madrid. She needs his help. Jake, ashamed of himself, cuts his trip short and heads for Madrid.

    Jake finds Brett broke in a fleabag hotel. She tells him that she made Romero go, because she didn’t want to hurt him. Brett knew she wasn’t good for Romero, so she sent him away.

    Brett and Jake leave the hotel. Romero had paid the bill. They drink a little, then take a ride around Madrid. They talk again about their frustrated romance.
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    The Stranger

    by Albert Camus



    The book opens as Meursault recalls his mother’s death. Maman dies prior to the opening, yet, Meursault cannot remember exactly when, why, or any information of related significance. He thinks of his mother in a distant emotional state and continues about with his daily life, as if nothing has changed since her death. The only difference in his life is that he must proceed with the normal actions of mourning and funerals.

    Meursault visits the home, in which he placed Maman prior to he death (an inexact time ago), speaks with the caretaker about life, his mother, and smokes a cigarette. At the funeral, he looks around at the beautiful sunny day and wishes he were at home in bed in Algiers. He also observes the feeble old man, Monsieur Perez, who loved Maman, struggle to help carry her coffin to its burial plot.

    The day after the funeral, Meursault takes a bus to the public beach, where he meets up with Marie Cardona, a beautiful young secretary from his company. They had flirted in the past, and without much delay, jump into bed together. After spending the day splashing around in the ocean and going to a movie (a comedy), Marie returns to Meursault’s apartment where they make love. As they soon begin to spend much time together, Marie asks Meursault if he loves her. Meursault likes her, but sees nothing special about her or any woman in general. He will marry her if she wants, but according to him, nothing matters that much.

    Meursault returns to work and his mundane life. He is reprimanded by his boss for having little drive and motivation, and passes some time with co-worker and friend, Emmanuel. He speaks with his downstairs neighbor, Salamano, who lives alone with his beloved spaniel dog. The dog suffers from a rare skin disease that covers his and his master’s skin in scabs. The authorities eventually take the dog away from Salamano, leaving him lonely and broken-hearted. Another neighbor, with whom Meursault become friends is Raymond Sintes. A short, stalky man, he condones violent outbursts towards women and openly beats his ex-girlfriend who is an Arab and who he believes to have cheated on him. Raymond and Meursault discuss their lack of emotions and past relationships with one another, understanding the apathetic, cold, and indifferent personalities that they share.

    One day, Raymond brings Meursault and Marie to the beach to visit his friend, Masson. They see a group of Arabs following them (including the brother of Raymond’s ex-girlfriend). Near a stream at the edge of the beach, the Arabs fight the three men, and run off. After the three men return to Masson’s cottage and their respective female companions, Meursault returns to the beach with Raymond’s gun. He comes across the same Arab as before, and before much provocation shoots him once. After he falls, Meursault shoots him three more times.

    Meursault is arrested and put in jail to await trial. He speaks with a magistrate, several policemen, and his defense attorney. While in trial, he gets to know his surroundings and is forced to contemplate his life, his worth, and his actions. He changes little and still cannot believe that he is on trial for murder. Marie visits him in prison, still hoping to marry him when he is released.

    When the case begins months later, it is a media circus. Meursault observes his surroundings and sees every person he knows in court. The prosecuting and defense attorneys call them to testify on his character. Although all express their friendship and connection with Meursault fairly and in a positive light, it is Marie’s testimony that ultimately destroys’ Meursault’s credibility. The prosecuting attorney persistently describes Meursault’s indifference towards his mother’s death as monstrous and apathetic. So, when Marie explains that they began their relationship immediately after the funeral proceedings, the judges and jury and audience members are convinced that Meursault is truly the unfeeling monster that the prosecutor makes him out to be.

    Meursault is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to public execution by guillotine. While Meursault awaits his doom, he returns to prison and is forced to pass the time and think, again, of his life and actions. He is not changed. The prison chaplain enters to speak with him, to urge him to find God and salvation. Meursault still does not believe in God and finds the man frustrating and annoying. He grabs hold of him and begins to yell until the prison guards restrain him.

    When the day of his execution arrives, Meursault understands Maman’s actions and feelings prior to her death. He thinks that maybe he could live another life. Regardless, he is excited about the day. He walks out to the guillotine hoping that everyone cheers loudly for his death.



    ****************************



    Sons and Lovers

    by D. H. Lawrence (David Herbert)




    The life of the Morel family is unhappy, tense, and uneasy. The Morels live in a mining town in the countryside. Walter Morel is a miner, and he and his wife, Gertrude, have two children, William and Annie, and are expecting their third child. When their third child, Paul, is born, Mrs. Morel does not really want the new baby. Her life is full with handling her husband’s temper and caring for the children. She hates that she has to stay home with the children while her husband gets to go out and enjoy himself (i.e. drink). After the birth of their fourth child, Arthur, the Morel family is complete.

    Mrs. Morel transfers her affections from her husband to her first son, William, who is intelligent and active. He is the apple of his mother’s eye, winning awards, doing well in school and finding jobs easily. When William goes to London for a job, Mrs. Morel is devastated. William comes home, bringing with him his fiancee, a young lady who treats the Morels like servants. Having spent too much time at work and with his fiancee, William catches pneumonia and dies. After William’s death, Mrs. Morel turns her love and attention to Paul.

    Paul, always sensitive and emotional, gets a job at Thomas Jordan’s, a surgical applicances factory and strikes a friendship with Miriam Leivers. Mrs. Morel does not like Miriam because in her view Miriam takes all of Paul’s energy, desire, and feelings with nothing left of him for her. Miriam introduces Paul to Clara Dawes, whose mother is friendly with Mrs. Leivers and who is separated from her husband, Baxter Dawes.

    After Paul and Miriam have sex, he decides that they are not good for each other, and breaks off their relationship, to Miriam’s anger and bitterness. Paul heads into an intensely sexual relationship with Clara. Miriam is jealous that the Morels have accepted Clara as Paul’s lover when they have not liked her at all. Paul and Clara share a passionate, sexual relationship. As much as Paul thinks that he is happy, his mother believes otherwise; she knows in her heart that Clara will tire her son out.

    Baxter Dawes and Paul have a fight; the fight leaves Paul in great pain and a great dislike for Clara’s husband. Although both men severely hate each other, they feel connected to each other.

    Mrs. Morel falls gravely ill because of a tumor. The doctor who tends to her tells Paul that Dawes is in the hospital for his fever. Paul calls on Dawes in the hospital and the two men somewhat reconcile. When Paul tells Clara that Dawes is ill, Clara unexpectedly declares that her husband had treated her with more respect and had loved her more than Paul ever did. Clara returns to Dawes.

    Meanwhile, Mrs. Morel grows weaker. Knowing that she is prolonging her death to live for Paul, Paul and Annie fear that she will live longer than she can emotionally survive. Paul and Annie cannot stand to see their beloved mother live in such pain that they give her an extra dosage of morphine. Mrs. Morel dies.

    Paul goes to see Miriam. They ponder getting married, but Paul confesses that he has no desire nor any intention of marrying her. Miriam decides to wait as long as it takes for him to come to her. Paul returns home, thinking about the bond he shares with his mother. Their love is still alive in him, even though she has died.



    *************************


    Snow Falling on Cedars

    by David Guterson




    Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese-American fisherman living on the small island of San Piedro off the coast of Washington in the nineteen fifties, is accused of murder. The dead man is Carl Heine, another fisherman. Carl and Kabuo grew up together. Kabuo’s family was in the process of buying some of Carl’s family’s land when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Soon after that, Kabuo’s family was sent to internment camps in California with many other Japanese families who were suspected spies. While Kabuo’s family was gone, Carl’s mother Etta took advantage of their absence to sell the land to someone else, even though the Miyamotos only had one payment left to make. Kabuo returned from the war furious with Etta and determined to get the land his family had wanted.

    While in the camps, Kabuo married a beautiful Japanese girl named Hatsue Imada. She had had a long childhood romance with a Caucasian boy named Ishmael Chambers. Ishmael loved her with all his heart, but Hatsue had often felt some “wrongness” nagging at her, and when she forced to go to the camp she wrote him a letter telling him their relationship was over. Ishmael, like Kabuo, went to war and served his country well. When he returned, he was still very much in love with Hatsue and very lonely and angry.

    Carl Heine also went to war, and came back with some dark memories and some anger at the “Japs.” Nevertheless, he felt that his mother’s treatment of the Miyamotos was wrong, and when Kabuo approached him to buy his land he leaned toward yes, but wanted to think about it. Soon after, Kabuo came upon Carl late at night while fishing. Carl’s boat had lost its power. Kabuo gave Carl one of his batteries, and Carl made an agreement with Kabuo to sell the land. Kabuo left, and later a huge boat came close enough to Carl’s boat to knock Carl into the water with its wake, hitting his head on a pole in the process. When Carl’s body was found, it appeared that someone had hit him with something to knock him out and then thrown him overboard. Since Kabuo had recently had a conversation with Carl about his land and was known to desperately want the land, suspicion was raised. A major contributor to this suspicion was Kabuo’s race: many San Piedro residents still hated the Japanese, even ten years after the war. The trial was long and full of racism. No one was aware of the huge freighter passing so close to Carl’s boat until Ishmael stumbled upon the information while doing research for an article for his newspaper. When he finally brings his knowledge to the judge, along with some other information, the case is dismissed. Though Ishmael has not regained Hatsue, he finally feels she respects him for how he has helped her, and he can begin to respect himself again.
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    Slaughterhouse-Five

    by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.




    The narrator opens with an elaborate hyperbole of a subtitle for the book, explaining that he is a veteran living in easy circumstances, who witnessed the bombing of Dresden, Germany as a prisoner of war and survived to tell the tale in the manner of the planet of Tralfamadore where the flying saucers come from. He went back to Dresden with a war buddy years later. He ends the first chapter saying that his war novel, his novel of looking back is over, since there is nothing intelligent one can say about a massacre.

    He then tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, who is unstuck in time– he uncontrollably gets flung around the scenes of his life. He was a prisoner of war, became an optometrist, and married a rich girl who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He was the only survivor of a plane crash. He was abducted and kept in a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, where he was mated with movie star Montana Wildhack.

    With every mention of death in the book, the narrator says, “So it goes,” Tralfamadorians believe that time exists all at once and not moment-by-moment like beads on a string. So a person is never dead, because he is still alive in the past. Billy’s daughter Barbara is furious at him for trying to tell people his crazy notions.

    He wandered behind enemy lines with a fat, sadistic soldier named Roland Weary and two scouts, who ditched them. Weary got so mad at Billy for this that he beat him and when they were captured by German soldiers, he convinced many others that it was Billy’s fault when he died. Pre-capture, Billy also traveled to, among other places, his mother’s nursing home, where she asks him weakly how she got old, and to the YMCA where his father taught him to swim by throwing him into the deep end. He also goes back to the night of his abduction.

    Everyone at the prison camp was shocked to see how weak the Americans were. Billy was delirious, and he flipped out and was hospitalized. Edgar Derby, an older soldier who would be shot for plundering a teapot, stayed with him. Paul Lazzaro, a weak, hateful man, told Billy he had sworn to avenge Roland Weary by shooting him. Billy was not worried; he had seen when he would die. He traveled in time to his second hospitalization during his last year of optometry school. There he met Eliot Rosewater, who introduced him to the science fiction works of Kilgore Trout.

    While there, Billy traveled back to Tralfamadore. When he told the crowd at the zoo to fear the power of Earthlings, they thought he was stupid; they knew it would be them, experimenting with a new jet fuel, who would destroy the universe.

    Billy and the other soldiers were transferred to Dresden, which was a beautiful city. Billy traveled to the airplane crash, where he mistook the people who rescued him for German soldiers. During surgery, he traveled back to Dresden. In Dresden, he worked at a factory that made malt syrup with vitamins, which everyone illegally spooned. They were kept in slaughterhouse number five. About a month later, the city was bombed, and the prisoners survived in an underground bunker.

    At his eighteenth wedding anniversary party, to which he invited Trout after they met in an alley, Billy flipped out; the barbershop quartet reminded him of the Dresden guards.

    Years later, in the hospital after the plane crash, Billy met Air Force Historian and war-hawk Bertram Copeland Rumfoord, who told him that the bombing of Dresden was necessary and had to be kept a secret because of all the American “bleeding hearts.”

    After the crash, Billy escaped to New York, where he snuck onto a radio show to preach his Tralfamadorian wisdom.

    In the last chapter, the narrator tells of how he traveled back to Dresden, and how Billy and the other prisoners had been made to dig up corpses from the ruins.



    **************



    Silas Marner

    by George Eliot




    Before Silas Marner had settled in the village of Raveloe, he had lived in Lantern Yard. Silas had left Lantern Yard because he had been falsely accused of stealing - and because his friend, William Dane, had betrayed his trust by accusing him and marrying Silas’s fiancee, Sarah.

    When Silas settles in Raveloe, he is isolated from the village. That he is a weaver and that his cottage is on the edge of town, next to the Stone-pits, make Silas very different from the rest of the village. Also, the townspeople believe that Silas is connected with the devil because they think he can set curses and charms. The townspeople generally stay away from him, except for the curious children who are interested in the unusual sound of the loom and are frightened by Silas’s glaring face. Deprived of human companionship and love, Silas only has love for the gold that he hoards. Silas remains alone and cold for fifteen years.

    Dunsey Cass, Squire Cass’s younger and reckless son, does not pay back the rent money that Godfrey has given him. Dunsey threatens that if Godfrey does not pay the money himself, then he will reveal Godfrey’s dark secret that he was married to a drunk named Molly Farren. Godfrey is forced to sell his beloved horse, Wildfire, and against his better judgement, allows Dunsey to take the horse to the hunt and sell it. He would rather pay the money than have Dunsey expose his marriage to their father, for he wants to win Nancy Lammeter’s love. News of his marriage would surely jeopardize any chance of marrying Nancy.

    Dunsey takes the horse and finds a buyer, but he accidentally kills the horse when he enters the horse hunt and jumps over a stake, stabbing the horse. Dunsey manages to sneak away without anyone seeing him and walks home. As he nears Silas Marner’s cottage, he thinks about the money problem and remembers that Silas supposedly has a pile of gold stocked in his home. Without a conscience in his soul, Dunsey sneaks into Silas’s home, finds the gold in its hiding place, and runs off into the night.

    When Silas returns home, he finds that his gold is stolen. Devastated and horrified, Silas is shocked at the thought that someone had robbed him and runs to town to report the robbery, although he does not wish for anyone to be punished. Silas runs into the Rainbow and tells the townspeople there about the robbery. After Silas accuses Jem Rodney of stealing his gold, the villagers demand that Silas tell them how he found the gold missing. Because Silas is so distraught and serious, the villagers believe his story to be true. The next day, Godfrey goes to the Stone-pits area, as with other villagers, to discuss the robbery. Nearby Silas’s cottage, they find a tinderbox, which makes a townsman recall that a peddler who’d come to town recently carried a tinderbox. The townspeople are divided on the subject of Silas’s stolen gold. However, Dunsey’s name does not come up as a suspect because he is known to disappear for a long period of time. When Godfrey learns that Dunsey has killed the horse, he realizes that he must tell their father about the missing rent money and the horse. Squire Cass is enraged about the money and tells Godfrey that he is as spineless and weak-minded as his mother was.

    Dolly Winthrop visits Silas and begs him to join the church festivities on Christmas Day. She tries to make him see the connection between the town church ceremonies and the Christmas holidays, but Silas fails to recognize that the church is associated with Christmas. The Lantern Yard services he learned are not the same as the Raveloe customs. Instead, Silas spends the holidays by himself, as he had every year for the past fifteen years.

    The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are spent with joyous festivities for the townspeople. Squire Cass throws a lavish New Year’s party for Raveloe high society. Nancy Lammeter is chagrined that Godfrey still wants her for his wife, for she has made it clear that she does not want to marry. The villagers remark at how wonderful Godfrey and Nancy look as a couple. Nancy is cold to Godfrey when he asks for her forgiveness.

    On her way to the Squire’s party, a drunken Molly Farren, Godfrey’s wife, walks with their baby girl in her arms. She plans to crash the party and reveal that she is Godfrey’s wife so that she can avenge Godfrey’s desertion. Before she can make it to the Squire’s, Molly falls asleep from the opium and falls onto the snow, the little girl escaping Molly’s arms. The child follows the path of a bright light, all the way to Silas Marner’s cottage and through the open door. Silas does not see the child enter because he has an unconscious fit. When he regains consciousness, he sees something gold on the floor and thinks that his gold has returned to him. However, he finds that the gold on his floor is not money, but the golden hair of a sleeping child. Silas manages to think beyond the beautiful sight of the little girl to go outside and see the dead body of Molly Farren.

    Silas brings the child with him to Squire Cass’s house to fetch the doctor. Godfrey recognizes the child in Silas’s arms as his own. He fears that Molly is alive, but when he and the doctor rush to Silas’s cottage and finds Molly’s body, he sees that the woman Silas had found is indeed his wife, and that she is dead.

    The villagers are surprised by Silas’s statement that he wants to keep the child, but they feel warmer toward him. Dolly Winthrop gives Silas old clothes of her youngest son Aaron and advises him on how to care for the little girl. Vowing that he will make sure that she is taken care of, Godfrey is happy to see that his child is content with Silas, and gives Silas money for the girl.

    Silas names the girl Hephzibah, after his mother and sister, and calls her Eppie for short. Raising Eppie brings Silas more joy and happiness than he could ever imagine. For the first time, Silas feels a reciprocated love, a love that is deeper and more affectionate than his love for gold. She teaches him that there is goodness in this world, and Silas couldn’t be more happy than he is now. Silas is kind to the villagers, who are kind and warm in return.

    Sixteen years have passed since Eppie entered Silas’s life. Eppie is now a beautiful, sweet girl, who loves nature and animals. She and Silas have a very happy life together in Raveloe; Eppie has loved Silas as her father and cannot bear the thought of being separated from him. Eppie tells her father that she would like to marry Aaron Winthrop, who has proposed to her, but only if Silas lives with them as well. Also watching Eppie’s welfare is Godfrey Cass, who is now married to Nancy Lammeter. He and Nancy are childless; their one child died in infancy. Godfrey is especially giving and considerate to Eppie and Silas. Godfrey had suggesting adopting Eppie before, but Nancy had refused, on her belief that adopting would be against Providence.

    When the Stone-pits are drained, Dunsey’s skeleton is found with the gold he had stolen from Silas Marner. Godfrey finally confesses to Nancy that he had been married and that Eppie is his child. When he learns that Dunsey’s body has been found, he knows the truth will always reveal itself eventually. A disappointed Nancy, fearful that she has been a horrid wife, tells him that he should have told her earlier, so that they might have had a child to raise. They agree to ask Eppie if she would like to live with them as their daughter.

    Godfrey and Nancy visit Silas’s cottage, where they ask Eppie if she wants to become their daughter, learn how to be a lady, and live with them at the Red House. Godfrey intends to save Eppie from the hard life as a working-class girl, but Eppie replies that she does not want to be rich and that she would rather remain in the countryside. When Godfrey angrily tells Eppie and Silas that Eppie is his daughter, both Eppie and Silas declare to Godfrey that Eppie’s true paternity does not change the fact that Godfrey did not acknowledge her as his daughter sixteen years ago. Repeating firmly that she wants to marry a workingman and that she will not part from Silas, Eppie refuses the Casses’ proposal to Godfrey, who, when thinking about Eppie’s refusal, decides sadly that it is punishment for deserting her. He decides to do all that he can for Eppie.

    Silas decides to return to Lantern Yard, to see the minister and try to clear his accused name. With Eppie accompanying him, Silas finds a horrid, grim-looking town in place of the Lantern Yard he knew. To his horror, in place of the chapel is a factory, and no one knows what happened to the chapel or the minister. Silas talks to Dolly about the disappointment of not finding the chapel and the minister and fears that his dark past might never be cleared. However, Silas agrees with Dolly in that there is goodness and right in this world, as long as he trusts.

    Eppie and Aaron are married on a beautiful day with their family present. Nancy’s sister and father accompany her to the wedding, for Godfrey is suddenly out of town. The villagers agree that Silas has brought a blessing to himself by taking in a lone, abandoned child. Eppie and Aaron live with Silas on his property, which has been enlarged by Godfrey.

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