Lu Xun

Sinosphere By KIKI ZHAO JAN. 4, 2016 BEIJING — Once again, the early-20th-century writer Lu Xun, whose scathing critiques of the pre-revolutionary Chinese social order won him a place in the Chinese Communist pantheon, even though he himself was not … Continue reading

BEIJING — Once again, the early-20th-century writer Lu Xun, whose scathing critiques of the pre-revolutionary Chinese social order won him a place in the Chinese Communist pantheon, even though he himself was not a Marxist, has provided a popular phrase for much that is amiss in Chinatoday.

In recent weeks, “Zhao jia ren,” or “Zhao family,” from Lu Xun’s novella “The True Story of Ah Q,” has resurfaced as a disparaging term for China’s rich and politically well-connected.


Lu Xun or Lu Hsün (Wade-Giles), was the pen name of Zhou Shuren (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936), a leading figure of modern Chinese literature. Writing in Vernacular Chinese as well as Classical Chinese, Lu Xun was a short story writer, editor, translator, literary critic, essayist, and poet. In the 1930s he became the titular head of the League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai.

Lu Xun was born into a family of landlords and government officials in Shaoxing, Zhejiang; the family’s financial resources declined over the course of his youth. Lu aspired to take the imperial civil service exam; but, due to his family’s relative poverty, was forced to attend government-funded schools teaching “Western education”. Upon graduation, Lu went to medical school in Japan, but later dropped out. He became interested in studying literature, but was eventually forced to return to China due to his family’s lack of funds. After returning to China, Lu worked for several years teaching at local secondary schools and colleges before finally finding a job at the national Ministry of Education.

After the 1919 May Fourth Movement, Lu Xun’s writing began to exert a substantial influence on Chinese literature and popular culture. Like many leaders of the May Fourth Movement, he was primarily a leftist and liberal. He was highly acclaimed by the Chinese government after 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was founded, and Mao Zedong himself was a lifelong admirer of Lu Xun’s writing. Though sympathetic to communist ideas, Lu Xun never joined the Chinese Communist Party.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale (written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900) as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in … Continue reading

Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz include treatments of the modern fairy tale (written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900) as an allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in the 1890s. Scholars have examined four quite different versions of Oz: the novel of 1900,[1] the Broadway Play of 1901,[2] the Hollywood film of 1939,[3] and the numerous follow-up Oz novels written after 1900 by Baum and others.

leitmotif

A leitmotif /ˌlaɪtmoʊˈtiːf/ is a “short, constantly recurring musical phrase“[1] associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is closely related to the musical concepts of idée fixe or motto-theme.[2] The term itself is an anglicization of the GermanLeitmotiv, literally meaning “leading motif”, or perhaps more accurately, “guiding … Continue reading

leitmotif /?la?tmo??ti?f/ is a “short, constantly recurring musical phrase[1] associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is closely related to the musical concepts of idée fixe or motto-theme.[2] The term itself is an anglicization of the GermanLeitmotiv, literally meaning “leading motif”, or perhaps more accurately, “guiding motif”. A musical motif has been defined as a “short musical idea … melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic, or all three”,[3] a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition: “the smallest structural unit possessingthematic identity.”[4]

In particular, such a motif should be “clearly identified so as to retain its identity if modified on subsequent appearances” whether such modification be in terms of rhythm,harmonyorchestration or accompaniment. It may also be “combined with other leitmotifs to suggest a new dramatic condition” or development.[5] The technique is notably associated with the operas of Richard Wagner, although he was not its originator and did not employ the word in connection with his work.

Although usually a short melody, it can also be a chord progression or even a simple rhythm. Leitmotifs can help to bind a work together into a coherent whole, and also enable the composer to relate a story without the use of words, or to add an extra level to an already present story.

By association, the word has also been used to mean any sort of recurring theme, (whether or not subject to developmental transformation) in literature, or (metaphorically) the life of a fictional character or a real person. It is sometimes also used in discussion of other musical genres, such as instrumental pieces, cinema, and video game music, sometimes interchangeably with the more general category of theme. Such usage typically obscures the crucial aspect of a leitmotif—as opposed to the plain musical motif or theme—that it is transformable and recurs in different guises throughout the piece in which it occurs.

John Richard Hersey

John Richard Hersey (June 17, 1914 – March 24, 1993) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling techniques of fiction are adapted to non-fiction reportage.[1] Hersey’s account of the aftermath of the … Continue reading

John Richard Hersey (June 17, 1914 – March 24, 1993) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling techniques of fiction are adapted to non-fiction reportage.[1] Hersey’s account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of American journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member panel associated with New York University‘s journalism department.

Penguin Island

Anatole France (pronounced: [anatɔl fʁɑ̃s]; born François-Anatole Thibault,[1] [frɑ̃swa anatɔl tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he … Continue reading

Anatole France (pronounced: [anat?l f???s]; born François-Anatole Thibault,[1] [fr??swa anat?l tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of theAcadémie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his literary achievements.

France is also widely believed to be the model for narrator Marcel’s literary idol Bergotte in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.[2]

After his death in 1924 France was the object of written attacks, including a particularly venomous one from the Nazi collaboratorPierre Drieu la Rochelle, and detractors decided he was a vulgar and derivative writer. An admirer, the English writer George Orwell, defended him however and declared that he remained very readable, and that “it is unquestionable that he was attacked partly from political motives. The clerics and reactionaries hated him in just the same way as they hated Zola. [France] had lost no opportunity of poking fun at the Church. He was everything that the clerics and revanchists, the people who afterwards sucked the blacking off Hitler’s boots, most detested.” [8]

Penguin Island (1908; French: L’Île des Pingouins) is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize winning French author Anatole France.

Penguin Island is written in the style of a sprawling 18th- and 19th-century history book, concerned with grand metanarratives,mythologizing heroeshagiography and romantic nationalism. It is about a fictitious island, inhabited by great auks, that existed off the northern coast of Europe. The history begins when a wayward Christian missionary monk lands on the island and perceives theupright, unafraid auks as a sort of pre-Christian society of noble pagans. Mostly blind and somewhat deaf, having mistaken the animals for humans, he baptizes them. This causes a problem for The Lord, who normally only allows humans to be baptized. After consulting with saints and theologians in Heaven, He resolves the dilemma by converting the baptized birds to humans with only a few physical traces of their ornithological origin, and giving them each a soul.

Thus begins the history of Penguinia, and from there forward the history mirrors that of France (and more generally of Western Europe, including German-speaking areas and the British Isles). The narrative spans from the Migration Period (“Dark Ages“), when the Germanic tribes fought incessantly among themselves for territory; to the heroic Early Middle Ages with the rise of Charlemagne(“Draco the Great”) and conflicts with Viking raiders (“porpoises“); through the Renaissance (Erasmus); and up to the modern era with motor cars; and even into a future time in which a thriving high-tech civilization is destroyed by a campaign of terrorist bombings, and everything begins again in an endless cycle.

The longest-running plot thread, and probably the best known, satirizes the Dreyfus affair — though both brief and complex satires of European history, politicsphilosophy andtheology are present throughout the novel. At various points, real historical figures such as Columba and Saint Augustine are part of the story, as well as fictionalized characters who represent historical people. Penguin Island is considered a critique of human nature from a socialist standpoint, in which moralscustoms and laws are lampooned. For example, the origin of the aristocracy is presented as starting with the brutal and shameless murder of a farmer, and the seizure of his land, by a physically larger and stronger neighbor.

Penguin Island

Anatole France (pronounced: [anatɔl fʁɑ̃s]; born François-Anatole Thibault,[1] [frɑ̃swa anatɔl tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he … Continue reading

Anatole France (pronounced: [anat?l f???s]; born François-Anatole Thibault,[1] [fr??swa anat?l tibo]; 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of theAcadémie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his literary achievements.

France is also widely believed to be the model for narrator Marcel’s literary idol Bergotte in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.[2]

After his death in 1924 France was the object of written attacks, including a particularly venomous one from the Nazi collaboratorPierre Drieu la Rochelle, and detractors decided he was a vulgar and derivative writer. An admirer, the English writer George Orwell, defended him however and declared that he remained very readable, and that “it is unquestionable that he was attacked partly from political motives. The clerics and reactionaries hated him in just the same way as they hated Zola. [France] had lost no opportunity of poking fun at the Church. He was everything that the clerics and revanchists, the people who afterwards sucked the blacking off Hitler’s boots, most detested.” [8]

Penguin Island (1908; French: L’Île des Pingouins) is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize winning French author Anatole France.

Penguin Island is written in the style of a sprawling 18th- and 19th-century history book, concerned with grand metanarratives,mythologizing heroeshagiography and romantic nationalism. It is about a fictitious island, inhabited by great auks, that existed off the northern coast of Europe. The history begins when a wayward Christian missionary monk lands on the island and perceives theupright, unafraid auks as a sort of pre-Christian society of noble pagans. Mostly blind and somewhat deaf, having mistaken the animals for humans, he baptizes them. This causes a problem for The Lord, who normally only allows humans to be baptized. After consulting with saints and theologians in Heaven, He resolves the dilemma by converting the baptized birds to humans with only a few physical traces of their ornithological origin, and giving them each a soul.

Thus begins the history of Penguinia, and from there forward the history mirrors that of France (and more generally of Western Europe, including German-speaking areas and the British Isles). The narrative spans from the Migration Period (“Dark Ages“), when the Germanic tribes fought incessantly among themselves for territory; to the heroic Early Middle Ages with the rise of Charlemagne(“Draco the Great”) and conflicts with Viking raiders (“porpoises“); through the Renaissance (Erasmus); and up to the modern era with motor cars; and even into a future time in which a thriving high-tech civilization is destroyed by a campaign of terrorist bombings, and everything begins again in an endless cycle.

The longest-running plot thread, and probably the best known, satirizes the Dreyfus affair — though both brief and complex satires of European history, politicsphilosophy andtheology are present throughout the novel. At various points, real historical figures such as Columba and Saint Augustine are part of the story, as well as fictionalized characters who represent historical people. Penguin Island is considered a critique of human nature from a socialist standpoint, in which moralscustoms and laws are lampooned. For example, the origin of the aristocracy is presented as starting with the brutal and shameless murder of a farmer, and the seizure of his land, by a physically larger and stronger neighbor.

Peace

Peace is an early novel by Gene Wolfe that on its surface is the story of a man growing up in a small Midwestern town in the early to mid-20th century. Our narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, goes over memories from different parts of … Continue reading

Peace is an early novel by Gene Wolfe that on its surface is the story of a man growing up in a small Midwestern town in the early to mid-20th century. Our narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, goes over memories from different parts of his life—his childhood, early adulthood, middle age, old age.[1][2] Unlike many of Wolfe’s most well-known works, it is a stand-alone novel rather than part of a series, and at least ostensibly takes place in a realistic, present-day world instead of a fantasy-setting.

As in many of Wolfe’s novels, much of the novel is taken up with stories within stories—particularly stories told to his the child Weer.[1]Many of the key events of the novel are not explicitly narrated, but can be inferred or guessed at based on information in the stories.

Different critics interpret what is actually happening in the novel differently.[3] One interpretation is that Weer is dead, and the scattered memories are those of a ghost. Another interpretation is that the memories of his old age are the fantasies of a middle-aged Weer, who is experiencing a nervous breakdown. The novel includes subtle clues to guide the reader’s understanding of the story, although the mysteries behind these clues have been hotly debated.[4]

Wolfe has described Peace as his favorite work, as it is the one where he came closest to achieving his original goals. Neil Gaiman, who has frequently praised the novel, said: “Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.”

Peace

Peace is an early novel by Gene Wolfe that on its surface is the story of a man growing up in a small Midwestern town in the early to mid-20th century. Our narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, goes over memories from different parts of … Continue reading

Peace is an early novel by Gene Wolfe that on its surface is the story of a man growing up in a small Midwestern town in the early to mid-20th century. Our narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, goes over memories from different parts of his life—his childhood, early adulthood, middle age, old age.[1][2] Unlike many of Wolfe’s most well-known works, it is a stand-alone novel rather than part of a series, and at least ostensibly takes place in a realistic, present-day world instead of a fantasy-setting.

As in many of Wolfe’s novels, much of the novel is taken up with stories within stories—particularly stories told to his the child Weer.[1]Many of the key events of the novel are not explicitly narrated, but can be inferred or guessed at based on information in the stories.

Different critics interpret what is actually happening in the novel differently.[3] One interpretation is that Weer is dead, and the scattered memories are those of a ghost. Another interpretation is that the memories of his old age are the fantasies of a middle-aged Weer, who is experiencing a nervous breakdown. The novel includes subtle clues to guide the reader’s understanding of the story, although the mysteries behind these clues have been hotly debated.[4]

Wolfe has described Peace as his favorite work, as it is the one where he came closest to achieving his original goals. Neil Gaiman, who has frequently praised the novel, said: “Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.”

THE LADY, OR THE TIGER?

“The Lady, or the Tiger?“ is a much-anthologized short story written by Frank R. Stockton for publication in the magazine The Century in 1882. “The lady, or the tiger?” has come into the English language as an allegorical expression, a shorthand indication or signifier for a problem that is unsolvable. by Frank … Continue reading

The Lady, or the Tiger? is a much-anthologized short story written by Frank R. Stockton for publication in the magazine The Century in 1882. “The lady, or the tiger?” has come into the English language as an allegorical expression, a shorthand indication or signifier for a problem that is unsolvable.

by Frank R. Stockton

In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose
ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the
progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large,
florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was
barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an
authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied
fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and,
when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done.
When every member of his domestic and political systems moved
smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial;
but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got
out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for
nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and
crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become
semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of
manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined
and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself
The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an
opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to
enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict
between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far
better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the
people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its
mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of
poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded,
by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance
to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed
day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king’s
arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its
form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated
solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king,
knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased
his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human
thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king,
surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state
on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him
opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the
amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the
inclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It
was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk
directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either
door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but
that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If
he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the
fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which
immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a
punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the
criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great
wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of
*the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast
hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly
that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have
merited so dire a fate.

But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth
from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his
majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he
was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It
mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or
that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own
selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to
interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The
exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and
in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest,
followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing
joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure,
advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding
was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells
rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and
the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his
path, led his bride to his home.

This was the king’s semi-barbaric method of administering
justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not
know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he
pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next
instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the
tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The
decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively
determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he
found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the
spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the
judgments of the king’s arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered
together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether
they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding.
This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion
which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses
were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the
community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan,
for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own
hands?

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most
florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his
own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and
was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a
young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station
common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal
maidens. This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for
he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this
kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of
barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love
affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king
happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver
in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately
cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the
king’s arena. This, of course, was an especially important
occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly
interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never
before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared
to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things
became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight
degree novel and startling.

The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most
savage and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster
might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth
and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by
competent judges in order that the young man might have a
fitting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different
destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the
accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and
neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but
the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to
interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such
great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned
out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an
aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would
determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in
allowing himself to love the princess.

The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered,
and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable
to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls.
The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin
doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity.

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal
party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena.
Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum
of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so
grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved
him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom
was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal
personage. His eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the
right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in
her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but
her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an
occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the
moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should
decide his fate in the king’s arena, she had thought of nothing,
night or day, but this great event and the various subjects
connected with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force
of character than any one who had ever before been interested in
such a case, she had done what no other person had done,–she had
possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which
of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of
the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady.
Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the
inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should
come from within to the person who should approach to raise the
latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman’s will,
had brought the secret to the princess.

And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to
emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but
she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and
loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as
the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of
the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess
hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this
fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of
her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were
perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them
talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be
said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant
topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she
had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and,
with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her
through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the
woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.

When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as
she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of
anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick
perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she
knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which
stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her
nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until
she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other
lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which
there was any element of certainty was based upon the success
of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he
looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew
she would succeed.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question:
“Which?” It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he
stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was
asked in a flash; it must be answered in another.

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised
her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No
one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man
in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the
empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held,
every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the
slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened
it.

Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that
door, or did the lady ?

The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to
answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us
through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to
find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the
question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded,
semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the
combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who
should have him?

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started
in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought
of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited
the cruel fangs of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in
her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair,
when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door
of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen
him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and
sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth,
his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she
had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild
ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his
joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and
wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen
them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by
the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her
one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for
her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been
made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had
known she would be asked, she had decided what she would
answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her
hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered,
and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person
able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came
out of the opened door,–the lady, or the tiger?

writing

-When was the first time I noticed the perfume? Oh yes. I was sitting on the library. She leaned over his right shoulder so he could see her breasts and feel the warmth of her body. The bubble gum smell … Continue reading

When was the first time I noticed the perfume? Oh yes. I was sitting on the library.

She leaned over his right shoulder so he could see her breasts and feel the warmth of her body. The bubble gum smell envolved him.

When he entered the foyer something startled him and his heartbeat raced for a moment. He stopped and looked carefully around but could not pin point what was the reason of his anxiety. He went to the kitchen and put water to boil in a kettle to make some tea and relax. Steve turned on the TV. He tried to avoid the dumb box, he knew himself to be an addict but he wanted some noise and activity so the house will not feel so empty. He tuned CNN to check the news and the weather. They were showing a perfume commercial and suddenly realized what was been bothering him since he entered the foyer: The bubble gum smell! A chill run through his spine and his whole body tensed.

– Michele was in the house! No, please. What? From where was the smell coming from?

He sniffed and he seemed to perceive a hint of the smell but started to question whether the smell was really there or a memory, a ghost from the past.

-When was the first time I noticed the perfume? Oh yes. I was sitting on the library.

She leaned over his right shoulder so he could see her breasts and feel the warmth of her body. The bubble gum smell involved him. She asked him about the Shell Sort program, basically to write the program for her. At first his mind was busy flashing images of a foggy bedroom and his hand feeling smooth and firm skin, surprisingly hot, but after some initial stuttering and incoherency he got into the program and he was lost in another world, this one serene. But getting the code was not enough for Michele. She got Steve to write the actual report and make the test runs for her. After that, Steve was doing Michele schoolwork full time to the point that he was flunking the Complier class that required the time he was spending being abused.

Steve remembered how, even though he did not smoke at all, he finish a cigarette to calm down and call Michele for a date. How, to his surprise, he actually felt more at ease after the cigarette and muster enough courage to make the call. How, yet again to his surprise, Michele accepted right away. He went to pick her up on the Golf, the Wolfsburg edition, with the wide headlamps.

– What a beautiful car!

She said at first, but when she got inside she remarked: oh! It’s a rabbit!

He took her to a movie theater, couldn’t remember the name or the movie, where you could drink beer and eat while watching the show. Michele drank two pitchers all by herself. When he took her back to the house where she lived by herself Steve went where he had never gone before. As smooth as things went, he couldn’t get another date with Michele and he could see her around with the good looking guys. She would actually come and visit him and confide how her boyfriends treat her like shit. Steve resigned himself to be Michele best girlfriend and went on.

When Steve was graduating, he got a job in San Antonio with General Dynamics for 60K and the future looked very bright for him. The night before he was leaving, Michele came crying and drunk and told him that she loved him and wanted to get married. Next thing he knew, she was fucking him hard.

Steve agreed to marry more out of distaste of nasty violent arguments than of real conviction but once he accepted he was committed to make the marriage work.

– Hey, Steve!

Steve jumped in his seat but did not turn. Maybe he was hallucinating but did not want to confirm it.

– Hey, Steve!

Steve turned slowly and there she was.

– What are YOU doing here?
– What do mean what I am doing here? I live here.
– You live here? What?
– Stevy, Stevy…
– How’s Nell?
– What are you doing here?
– Stevy… I live here
– Craig Forbes told me to spend the afternoon here. He said it is house and that nobody would be here. That he wanted me to check that things were alright.
– He doesn’t know I’m here. I wanted to surprise him. But, now here you are! I love you, Stevy!
– What do you want? You were the one that left.
– That was just an adventure Stevy, but I love you and I want to have Nell back.
– What for? You never spend any time with her. You lost your rights when you left.

The house was empty. That was no unusual but he had an uneasy feeling. He took Nell to her bedroom. He went to the kitchen and put water to boil in a kettle to make some tea and relax. He noticed a piece of paper on the kitchen table with a cleaver knife on top as a paperweight:

Stevy:
I love you dear, but a woman has needs and life with you is so dull.
Tell Nell that mommy is on a trip but will be back soon

Steve reported Michele missing to authorities. It turned out she was safe and sound with Extreme guitarist Neal Dickson in Tennessee, where the band has a gig. Steve felt humiliated, especially when Dickson send him a photo of genitalia presumed to belong to the guitarist. He cited adultery and abandonment as the reason for the divorce.

Once he made the decision to divorce, he felt pretty good actually and right away. Immediately actually. He felt calm and at peace. He did fell the sting of the humiliation and the failing of the marriage, but he was actually happy to get rid of Michele and the bad influence that she was for Nell. So when Michele came back it was his worst nightmare come true.

When he entered the foyer something startled him and his heartbeat raced for a moment. He stopped and looked carefully around but could not pin point what was the reason of his anxiety. He took Nell to her bedroom. He went to the kitchen and put water to boil in a kettle to make some tea and relax. Steve turned on the TV. He tried to avoid the dumb box, he knew himself to be an addict but he wanted some noise and activity so the house will not feel so empty. He tuned CNN to check the news and the weather. They were showing a perfume commercial and suddenly realized what was been bothering him since he entered the foyer: The bubble gum smell! A chill run through his spine and his whole body tensed.

– Michele was in the house! No, please. What? From where was the smell coming from?

He sniffed and he seemed to perceive a hint of the smell but started to question whether the smell was really there or a memory, a ghost from the past.

-When was the first time I noticed the perfume? Oh yes. I was sitting on the library.
– Hey, Steve!

Steve jumped in his seat and burn himself with the hot tea but did not even noticed.

– Hey, Steve!

Steve turned slowly and there she was

– What are you doing HERE?
– What do mean what I am doing here? I live here.
– You live here? What?
– Stevy, Stevy…
– How’s Nell?
– What are you doing here?
– Stevy… I live here

Many people suggested he changed the door blots but he didn’t really think that Michele was ever to come back and although he thought about it, he let it pass and forgot the issue completely. Michele was the nagging wife type and would flare burst of uncalled bad temper but Steve had never discussed or even had an argument with her before and this was new ground for him.

– You do NOT live here anymore! You left!
– That was just an adventure Stevy, but I love you and I want to have Nell back.
– What for? You are a bad influence for her.

Michele tilted her head to the right and drove her fingers thru her hear. With a provocative smile she came close to Steve. Steve took at step back and she kicked him in the shin. He bent to touch the sore knee and she pulled him from the hair hard toward the ground. He was not expecting it, lost his balance, and hit the floor full force with the face. He saw a bright flash, and then a dark fog filled the room. When he fog lifted, Michele was gone.

Steve walked toward the main door and Michele grabs his left arm. He jerked the arm from her and in a continuous motion he hit her right below the nose. She took a step back, flipped, and felt to the floor face down.

– Shit! She gone sue me! She gonna take Nell

He felt the fear and the rage warming his body and take over his mind. He took a deep breath. He felt like he was out of his body, watching himself from the outside and wandering what he was going to do. He watched himself go to the kitchen, and look for something. Inside the fridge he took a plastic bag with vegetables, empty the bag, and went back to the living room.

– No, Steve, don’t!

He put the bag on Michele’s head and sat on top of her holding and closing the bag at her neck. She regained consciousness when she started to suffocate and struggled some but after awhile she became still. Steve’s body joined him in the couch and stayed there.


Whenever you feel stuck with your article writing and are facing the typical writer’s block, you should go with the ‘brain dumping’ method where you write as fast as possible without thinking twice. Just write down everything that comes into your mind, and this will help the break writer’s block that you may be experiencing. As you write down this content, the spelling, grammar and punctuation will not even be considered during this process. You will be utterly astounded by all of the content that you come up with what you have put all of your article content into written format. Later on, you can use re-structure and proof read this article to make it presentable.

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