Monday, July 18, 2011

Literary Pop Quiz

  High literature and I don't always jive well.  Except for a few gems, most of what people call the "Classics" aren't my typical fare.  I guess you could say I'm a reverse snob...I rarely read classic literature--I usually find it boring, obtuse or stuffy. (Caveat: there are a number of theatrical versions of books I've enjoyed.  Maybe it's because I'm not a purist and also, my attention span can handle a couple of hours better than several days).

  That said, I respect people who can make sense and even seem to revel in the Classics.  Perhaps because I don't get high literature, I admire people who do.  One of those would be my Lit prof in college, Dr. H.  Everyone loves Dr. H as he's such a nice guy, and so absent-minded and comical, it would be a travesty to not love him.  Since many of my readership have had Dr. H, I'm give you a pop-quiz (for fun) on some of the so-called classics.  Seeing them through the eyes of Dr H sometime gave me a better perspective (and sometimes made me infuriated).  If you never had Dr H, some of these answers won't make a lot of sense--I do apologize. He has an interesting worldview on a couple issues that tends to color all literature he covers in his classes.  This caused for some, bizarre answers on questions....all the questions below are derived from actual test questions or class discussions.

Don't worry, it's multiple choice. :-)

1. In Great Expectations, what was the name of the father of the man who wanted to sell Pip "Portable Property"?

a. Mister
b. Dark One
c. The Aged P
d. The Old Man
e. None of the Above

2. In Kafka's The Trial, what did the white shirt hanging outside the window of the main character's house symbolize?

a.  Peace
b.  Nothing
c.  Surrender
d. Oblivion
e. None of the Above

3. What aspect of Eve made Milton conclude she was created fallen and prone to sin (whereas Adam was not--don't get me started on this one!) in Paradise Lost?

a. Her smile
b. Her curls
c. Her laughter
d. Her insipidity
e. None of the Above

  Please reply with your answer in the comments section and I'll post the answers later! :-)  (PS-feel free to provide commentary on your experience with Dr H if you had him or on the books if you read them).


  1. The Aged P, Surrender, and I think it was her curls.....but it could have been _all of the above_ if that were an option. Miltno didn't like women very much, but the battle scenes were great. :-P

  2. Oh gosh... yes. In our Novel class, one of the questions from the short story section (of which we'd read at least half a dozen) asked who wore a pink ribbon in her hair.

  3. I answered the same as Cossette, but I think it is a great travesty that the general conclusion of the class was that Milton didn't like women very much. I would have to re-read a bunch of things to make a decent argument, but C.S.Lewis' Introduction to Milton's Paradise Lost was my introduction to the discussion and he makes a completely different point.

    Anyway... I like "Classics" a whole lot better when they are read like stories, rather than things to "interpret" and "critique."

  4. The Aged P, don't know Kafka 'cause I skipped that class, and definitely her curls. I remember a long wing-wide discussion in Lyonesse about "wanton hair" and not a few indignant ladies :-)

    Ah Dr H. I clearly recall the day I told him that Ulysses was a cad. He was a bit speechless.


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