A project I put together for AP Lit at the end of my junior year. Rubric was quite simple: take one hundred quotes or lines and analyze them. Seemed cumbersome so i shortcut it. I took famous lines, quotes, texts, etc from famous people, anonymous, a lot of people basically and they’re from a variety of countries, time periods, classes (there’s a Karl Marx line there after all!), etc. and put them together to make a large one hundred line poem. I think it’s over a hundred, I can’t recall. I may have cheated a bit by putting in Charles Dickens with the “it was’s” but Charles got payed by the word so it’s only fair, especially since I’m not being compensated. It also allows for a chilling transition into Orwell’s clocks. The numbers at the end of each verse say how many lines there were in that verse and I’m leaving them there for the sake of leaving the piece untouched. Feels controlling in a way, this separation. Anyways, the goal was to get a variety of situations and combine them in order to make a common poem demonstrating an echo of the human condition through all these writers. It upholds the notion, which I firmly believe, that everything is a remix, that all literature was influenced by a previous literature. Literature is felt and seen and read in a similar light for all humans and it makes the world a much less enigmatic space. It’s so wonderful. As a segue to show the true illustrations which literature paints the world with, here’s C.S. Lewis.
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” — C.S. Lewis
Fiction’s about what it is to be a f*cking human being.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
I do not go gentle into that goodnight
Into the eternal darkness,
but i have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
I saw the best minds of my generation,
destroyed by madness
but because I could not stop for death
I took a deep breath and listened to the old
brag of my heart
Hell is truth seen too late.
In the beginning, I am, I am, I am.
And so, I do not like green eggs and ham
We live in biological time,
and we have beginnings, middles, and ends.
The history of all hitherto existing society is
the history of class struggles, where the
the means are justified by the ends.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here,
For once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered weak and weary
I thought the lady doth protest too much, methinks
For she doth make my veins and pulses tremble.
But anyways, let us go then you and I,
Oh how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways
I must compare thee to a summer’s day
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it
and dependent on it,
can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if
it had nothing else in the universe to do.
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see,
except standing there leaning on the
balcony railing, holding the universe together.
The curves of her lips rewrite history.
But sun shone, having no alternative,
on the nothing new.
And now the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table.
My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
I let go of her
Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.
But frankly dear, I don’t give a damn
There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophies.
It is a truth universally acknowledged,
that a single man in possession of a good fortune,
must be in want of a wife.
Yet once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl,
and her laughter was a question
he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
So tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too…
So it goes.
I was born twice:
first, as a baby girl, Dalloway;
and then again, as a teenage boy, in August of 1974
named Eustace Clarence Stubb.
I almost deserved that pitiful name.
And so it was a dark stormy night,
the rain fell in torrents.
They always shoot the white girl first.
Shoot all the blujays you want,
if you can hit ‘em, but remember,
it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair.
It was a bright cold day in April,
and the clocks were striking thirteen.
All this happened more or less.
Whether I shall turn out to be
the hero of my own life,
or whether that station will be held by anybody else,
these words must show.
Many years later,
as I faced the firing squad,
I was to remember that distant afternoon
when my father took me to discover ice.
But better to be hurt by the truth
than comforted by a lie.
What were these men to rocks and mountains?
I learned that I don’t love
the smell of napalm in the morning.
It was not a pleasure to burn
In spite of everything,
I still believe people are really good at heart.