Anniversary the Third!

Today is the third anniversary of Mirror with Clouds!  It’s been an interesting, informative and all around great three years and I’m looking forward to year #4.  It’s become my anniversary tradition to post some of my favorite quotations from the past year – so here they are!

These mystic creatures, suddenly translated by night from unutterable solitudes to our peopled deck, affected me in a manner not easy to unfold.  They seemed newly crawled forth from beneath the foundations of the world.  Yea, they seemed the identical tortoises whereon the Hindu plants this total sphere.  With a lantern I inspected them more closely.  Such worshipful venerableness of aspect!  Such furry greenness mantling the rude peelings and healing the fissures of their shattered shells.  I no more saw three tortoises.  They expanded – became transfigured.  I seemed to see three Roman Coliseums in magnificent decay.

– From Herman Melville’s “The Encantadas” (a reference to the tortoises found on the Encantadas, also known as the Galapagos Islands)

 

In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken.

-From Ernest Hemingway’s “Ten Indians”

 

Something quite remote from anything the builders intended has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time: a small red flame – a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design, relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem.  It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.

-From Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited

 

He did not believe that he himself was formed in the image of God but that Bishop was he had no doubt.  The little boy was part of a simple equation that required no further solution, except at the moments when with little or no warning he would feel himself overwhelmed by the horrifying love.  Anything he looked at too long could bring it on.  Bishop did not have to be around.  It could be a stick or a stone, the line of a shadow, the absurd old man’s walk of a starling crossing the sidewalk.  If, without thinking, he lent himself to it, he would feel suddenly a morbid surge of the love that terrified him – powerful enough to throw him to the ground in an act of idiot praise.  It was completely irrational and abnormal.

-From Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away

 

“It’s terrible sometimes, inside,” he said, “that’s what’s the trouble.  You walk these streets, black and funky and cold, and there’s not really a living ass to talk to, and there’s nothing shaking, and there’s no way of getting it out – that storm inside.  You can’t talk it and you can’t make love with it, and when you finally try to get with it and play it, you realize nobody’s listening.  So you’ve got to listen.  You got to find a way to listen.”

-From James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

 

And then Trout, with his wound dressed, would walk out into the unfamiliar city.  He would meet his Creator, who would explain everything.

-From Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions

 

 

Ernest Hemingway: Ten Indians

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What do ten Native Americans do on the Fourth of July?  In Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Ten Indians”, they get drunk and pass out on the side of the road just as Nick Adams (a recurring Hemingway character) and his friends drive by.  Hemingway has never been known for political correctness; however, the Americana backdrop of this story makes me think this is more than an offensive stereotype.  The Independence Day setting together with Adams returning to his father after a baseball game via a horse-drawn wagon sets up things for a quaint little story – except for the drunk Indians.  Is Hemingway saying, for various reasons, not everyone celebrates in the same manner?

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Nick’s friends carelessly drive by the men on the road as they drop off Nick at his father’s.  Nick’s father then proceeds to carelessly let him know that he saw Prudence Mitchell in the woods with another boy.  Nick’s infatuation with Prudence (an Indian girl) crosses over into other stories.  Hemingway leaves it up to the reader to determine whether Mr. Adams is purposely trying to hurt his son or doesn’t actually realize Nick’s feelings for Prudence.  Other Nick Adams stories give one the impression that Nick and his father have a love/hate relationship.

I like the coincidence of choosing this story for this particular week.  As I was reading it, I felt as though Hemingway is giving Mark Twain a little nod.  And then Nick is offered a piece of pie by his dad  – “huckleberry pie”.  I did a double take.  Another coincidence?

And finally, the bittersweet ending:

In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken.

My Deal Me In 2014 list can be seen here.  DMI is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis