Monday, September 02, 2019

So you think you know the classics

Forget fourth graders, are you smarter than a liberal arts major?  Test your knowledge this go round and find out.


Yes, you liked it, so it's back.  Below you will find the opening paragraph or paragraphs to six classic books.  Can you identify them?

Wait, we'll make it easier for you.

After the six excerpts, there are eight possible books that the six can be from.

Can you match them up?


1) Brrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiinng!
An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room.  A bed spring creaked.  A woman's voice sang out impatiently: 
"Bigger, shut that thing off!"
A surly grunt sounded above the tinny ring of metal. Naked feet swished dryly across the planks in the wooden floor and the clang ceased abruptly.

2) At five o'clock that morning reveille was sounded, as usual, by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging up near the staff quarters.  The intermittent sounds barely penetrated the windowpanes on which the frost lay two fingers thick, and they ended almost as soon as they'd begun.  It was cold outside, and the campguard was reluctant to go on beating out the reveille for long.

3) Mrs. Thomas Beresford shifted her position on the divan and looked gloomily out of the window of the flat.  The prospect was not an extended one, consisting solely of a small block of flats on the other side of the road.  Mrs. Beresford sighed and then yawned.
"I wish," she said, "something would happen."

4) Vienna was the city of statues.  They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets.  They stood on the top of the highest towers, lay down on stone tombs, sat on horesback, kneeled, prayed, fought animals and wars, danced, drank wine and read books made of stone.  They adorned cornices like the figureheads of old ships.  They stood in the heart of fountains glistening with water as if they had just been born.  They sat under trees in the parks summer and winter.  Some wore costumes of other periods, and some no clothes at all.  Men, women, children, kings, dwarfs, gargoyles, unicorns, lions, clowns, heroes, wise men, prophets, angels, saints and soldiers preserved for Vienna an illusion of eternity.
As a child Renate could see them from her bedroom window.  At night, when the white muslin curtains fluttered out like ballooning wedding dresses, she heard them whispering like figures which had been petrified by a spell during the day and came alive only at night.  Their silence by day taught her to read their frozen lips as one reads the messages of deaf mutes.  On rainy days their granite eye sockets shed tears mixed with soot.
Renate would never allow anyone to tell her the history of the statues, or to identify them.  This would have situated them in the past.  She was convinced that people did not die, they became statues.  they were people under a spell and if she were watchful enough they would tell her who they were and how they lived now.

5) You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.  I arrived her yesterday; and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare, and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

6) The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the tress of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.

7) In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

8) 1801 -- I have just returned from a visit to my landlord -- the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.  This is beautiful country! In all of Englad, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.  A perfect misanthropist's Heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.  A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

9) Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mr.s Arable.  "Some pigs were born last night."
"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight.
"Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt.  It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything.  So your father has decided to do away with it."
"Do away with it?" Shrieked Fern.  "You mean kill it?  Just because it's smaller than the others?"
Mrs. Arable put a pticher of cream o the table.  "Don't yell Fern!" she said. "Your father is right.  The pig would probably die anyway."
Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors.  The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime.  Fern's sneakers were sopping by the time she caught up with her father.

10) Day One
Maybe I shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares?  My life is over anyway.  Besides, what was I supposed to do?  He came up to my room and gave me that dumb stuffed animal that looks like a thumb, and there I was lying in bed twelve hours after an overdose.  I wasn't feeling my most attractive.  I'd thrown up scallops and Percodan on him the night before in the emergency room.  I thought that it would be impolite to refuse to give him my number.  He probably won't call, anyway.  No one will ever call me again.

Ten works cited are:




E) Anais Nin's COLLAGES.


G) Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN.

H) Agatha Christie's PARTNERS IN CRIME.


J) Richard Wright's NATIVE SON.

K) F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE GREAT GATSBY.

So how did you do?

Not sure?

Need to check or maybe to cheat?

Fine, the key is below.

1) J
2) I
3) H
4) E
5) G
6) F

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