Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TMWWT-Chapter Eleven

The Criminals Chase the Police

Great lines: ...but if he were walking with them...by God! I believe this ground would shake...

This reminds me of how sweet it was to have the high school students reading "The Surprise" at our drama class. The teens were reluctant to say "by God!" and substituted "my gosh" and "darn" for the other word. I hadn't noticed the minor swearing in the play until reading it with the students, and I thought really how interesting it was that they were so sensitive to this.

More great lines: ...we are not much, my boy, in Sunday's universe...
...the world in which he had been moving for three days...where men took off their beards...their spectacles and their noses...and turned into other people...
...what was a friend...what an enemy...
...Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light? Everything only a glimpse, the glimpse always unforeseen, and always forgotten...
...you've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor....the poor really has a stake in the country...(that's so true)
...Sunday would stand perfectly helpless before the task of converting any ordinary healthy person anywhere...
...ritual refreshment...
...it is just as well to see a good man or two when one is possibly near to death...
...the last honest stranger whom he should ever see upon the earth...

Memorable: The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists...

Great conversation: "Mr. Syme is saying," called out Ratcliffe to the French Colonel, "that this man, at least, will never be an anarchist."
"Mr. Syme is right enough there," answered Colonel Ducroix, laughing, "if only for the reason that he has plenty of property to defend. But I forgot that in your country you are not used to peasants being wealthy."
"He looks poor," said Dr. Bull doubtfully.
"Quite so," said the Colonel; "that is why he is rich."

"that's discipline. That's Sunday. He is perhaps five hundred miles off, but the fear of him is on all of them, like the finger of God." (This reminds me of the book Holes, where they are saved by God's thumb.)

I thought it was interesting that the criminals were all wearing black masks.

Dictionary needed: chiaroscuro a word an artist would use, right?

Reminder: the Marquis is now Ratcliffe (that's Inspector Ratcliffe to you)

Dream evidence: ...as a man in an evil dream strains himself to scream and wake...there is an awful lot of dream/nightmare talk in this book


  1. Yes chiaroscuro is a word an artist or anyone interested in art might use. In fact it came up in art class and I wrote a post about it: here
    It means roughly (as you may have been able to guess from context in the book) the contrast between light and shade.

  2. I think the reluctance to say "by God" is a holdover from our Puritan cultural ancestry. At EWTN we were made even to take such minor allusions out of "The Surprise".

    In Shakespeare's plays and others form the period, such Puritan pressure brought us expressions such as "'snails!", an abbreviation for and euphemistic expression of "God's nails!" - the nails that fastened Him to the cross.

    I say to heck with such mealymouthed verbiage, by gosh! 'Snails, you would think the Puritans were about the shut down the theaters again, by gum!

  3. But I don't want to divert the issue - we are building toward the Final Chapter, the most prophetic and awesome chapter of fiction from the 20th Century.

  4. Very interesting, Kevin! Though if I were to exclaim, "God's nails," I'd want to do it for something pretty important, and mean it, as I'd hate to commit blasphemy opon anything connected with our Lord's passion and death.

    My favorite line is coming up in the next chapter!!!111oneone


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