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Newt remained curled in the chair. He held out his painty hands as though a cat’s cradle were strung between them. ‘No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat’s cradle is nothing but a bunch of X’s between somebody’s hands and little kids look and look and look at all those X’s…’ ‘And?’ ‘No damn cat, and no damn cradle.’ (Vonnegut, 165-166)

“’One of the oldest games there is, cat’s cradle. Even the Eskimos know it. …For maybe a hundred thousand years or more, grownups have been waving tangles of string in their children’s faces’”(165). The cat’s cradle is a lie, just as Bokononism is a lie, just as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the baby-bringing Stork are lies. But what gives a lie truth? Kurt Vonnegut asks. What makes people want to believe in something they know to be false? For the islanders on San Lorenzo, Bokononism made an otherwise unbearable life liveable again. Believing in a fantasy gave them hope; for something better, for an escape, for an answer to all of their questions. Continue Reading »

‘Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re pounding their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.’

George went on. ‘With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.’

Lennie broke in. ‘But not us! An’ why? Because…because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.’ He laughed delightedly (Steinbeck, 13-14).

Who are the mice and who are the men? Is it better to be one over the other? What does it mean to be a mouse and what does it mean to be a man? According to Steinbeck, friendship is key. Without it, a character is merely a mouse.

George is the only man among mice. Without Lennie though, George wouldn’t be a man. Slim, a fellow rancher, comments on the strange bond between Lennie and George:

“’Hardly none of the guys ever travel together. I hardly never seen two guys travel together. You know how the hands are, they just come in and get their bunk and work a month, and then they quit and go out alone. Never seem to give a damn about nobody’” (39).

The other men are like mice; afraid. Continue Reading »

Why I Am Here

Hello Readers,

I created this blog for two reasons. One, I love reading and writing. Two, I want to practice my analytical and creative writing skills. For each post, I will read a book, pull out a quote that I feel is key to understanding the book, write a little blurb about an aspect of the book that made me think and will, hopefully, make you think, and then include a fictional piece that I have written that was specifically inspired by that book. So I will take a piece of fiction, explore it in a nonfictional way and pull ideas from it, and then write a new piece of fiction inspired by those ideas. By engaging with a text in this way, I participate in the larger conversation in which all writers partake. A reader can only listen to an author, but a writer can respond or continue the conversation through her own writing. So the inspiration, or the conversation, flows from one author’s pen to another. Plus, it’s a great way to practice those English skills that earned me a college degree ;P Anyway, I hope you enjoy my blog and if you have any reading suggestions please leave a comment!

Your Writer,

Amanda