Why did a young seaman was willing to take a fatal bullet in the chest? There might have been other ways for retribution. Deconstructing "Lord Jim" led to a writer"s block, and the deadline was less than 48 hours. Mark saw my struggles. He suggested a literature quiz. For a brief moment, I was looking at a different person. This won"t be my housemate who was studying mathematics, and I had an impression that the students of the School of Mathematics would have the time to plan their meal the following day (and the day after next).
I looked at Mark, assessing his chances in the English Department. He was insistent of the quiz, as he had nothing else to do during that moment. I figured that I won"t come up with another paragraph during the next hour (or less). What is the original title of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"? It didn"t take me seconds to answer the question. Men Who Hate Women. Stieg Larsson didn"t try to hide his misogynistic views, which turned out to be the key ingredient for a bestseller. The story took place in Sweden, which prompted me to wonder about the state of the womenfolk in Scandinavia. I might have to travel there (to find it out). It took Mark some time before he came up with the next question, as he wanted a more challenging question. Which writer said: "Translation is the art of failure"? I reckoned it was an author whose native language wasn"t English. It couldn"t be Miguel de Cervantes. I don"t believe it was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. A wild guess wouldn"t put an end to writer"s block, and Umberto Eco came to mind. Mark was speechless, his face unable to fathom my answer. I believed that I would resume my writing sooner than later, but the fun was starting. I became careless a few moments later.
How did Elrond stop the Nazgul pursuing Frodo? He used magic to banish them. My housemate had that smug look, which confused me. And then I realized that I should have given a specific response. (Elrond used magic, washing them all away with a giant wave.) Two out of three wasn"t bad at all.
Which books survived the global warming?
Mark wasn"t done, as he read an absorbing piece on the rising sea levels. He asked me what novels were relevant to the pressing issue. I was thinking of "Moby Dick", but I was reminded of my assignment in Modern Literature. And I recalled a disturbing short film set in a seaside. It took me several minutes before I remembered another Joseph Conrad book. Why haven"t I thought of "Freya of the Seven Isles" a while ago? My housemate was puzzled until I described the chapter involving dead tree trunks. I couldn"t think of anything else, even if "Lord of the Flies" might be good enough (to fall under the category). There was the pressing deadline.
Lee came unexpectedly. "Doctor Strange" would open a few weeks from now. Mark didn"t hear a word, and I would know. He was a huge fan of DC Comics. And I couldn"t recall the next paragraph (for my essay).