Archive for June, 2013

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“Can’t she see what’s going to happen?” Calvin asked.

“Oh, not in this kind of thing,” Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. “If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we’d be – we’d be like the people on Camazotz with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet.”

“Yes, yes,” Calvin said impatiently. “What’s that got to do with the Happy Medium?”

“Kindly pay me the courtesy of listening to me.” Mrs. Whatsit’s voice was stern, and for a moment Calvin stopped pawing the ground like a nervous colt. “It is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?”

“Yes.”

“There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That’s a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?”

“Yes.” Calvin nodded.

“And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?”

“No.”

“But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn’t he?”

“Yes,” Calvin nodded again.

“So,” Mrs. Whatsit said.

“So what?”

“Oh, do not be stupid, boy!” Mrs. Whatsit scolded. “You know perfectly well what I am driving at!”

“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?”

“Yes.” Mrs. Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”

 

L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. [New York]: Dell, 1962. 198-99.

Advertisements

Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis

There is a sense in which Arthur and Barfield are the types of every man’s First Friend and Second Friend. The First is the alter ego, the man who first reveals to you that you are not alone in the world by turning out (beyond hope) to share all your most secret delights. There is nothing to be overcome in making him your friend; he and you join like raindrops on a window.

But the Second Friend is the man who disagrees with you about everything. He is not so much the alter ego as the antiself. Of course he shares your interests; otherwise he would not become your friend at all. But he has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one. It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it. How can he be so nearly right and yet, invariable, just not right? He is as fascinating (and infuriating) as a woman. When you set out to correct his heresies, you find that he forsooth has decided to correct yours!

And then you go at it, hammer and tongs, far into the night, night after night, or walking through fine country that neither gives a glance to, each learning the weight of the other’s punches, and often more like mutually respectful enemies than friends. Actually (though it never seems so at the time) you modify one another’s thought; out of this perpetual dogfight a community of mind and a deep affection emerge.

Lewis, C. S. Surprised by Joy. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1955. 193-94.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Ah,” she cried, “you look so cool.”

Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.

“You always look so cool,” she repeated.

She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw.

 

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. 125.

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Francis William Bourdillon

The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.

 

Bourdillon, Francis William. “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.” Among the Flowers: And Other Poems. London: Marcus Ward, 1878.