If YOU were GUY MONTAG
This question has probably been asked, but being new to DailyLit, I was curious as to what books would other people memorize if they were in the position of Guy Montag. As I recall, in "Fahrenheit 451", the character of Granger states to the group of professors and intellects that Montag is significant because he signifies their "back-up-copy" of "Book of Ecclesiastes."
So if we lived in a Orwellian world and fireman started busting houses for books, what book would YOU choose to memorize? I would memorize either "This SIde Of Paradise" by F.Scott Fitzgerald, "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac, and "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway. Maybe memorize all three!!!
I love this question! We'd love to feature it as this week's Question of the Week, if that sounds good to you!
If you're not familiar with Fahrenheit 451, it's a dystopian novel about a future where books are routinely burned "for the good of society." Guy starts memorizing them to preserve what he can.
Aug 2, 2009 9:14 pm
by MaggieH (admin)
Yeah! That sounds awesome! Wow! Thanks!
Aug 2, 2009 9:42 pm
First off I must confess to only having seen the movie and not read the book so I would be interested in hearing if there were any major differences between the two.
Nevertheless, as this is an oral tradition I would want to learn a book that would be fun to recite and that would also be entertaining to listen to and lastly one that would have a message.
As such I am thinking I would learn Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson.
Aug 3, 2009 11:29 am
I apologise but I would force myself to memorise five... Animal Farm by George Orwell (think I am on my way to memorising this one already), 1984 by George Orwell, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and On Becoming A Person by Carl R Rogers. I loved this question and must admit to having thought of it before hence my comprehensive list!
Aug 3, 2009 5:47 pm
I'll have to second John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men, or The Grapes of Wrath.
Sadly, though -- neither Ray Bradbury nor John Steinbeck are listed as authors of any Daily Lit!
Aug 4, 2009 2:07 pm
Cresswga, you raise a great point - the exercise would have the effect of taking our written tradition and transforming it (back?) into an oral one, As such, I would like to be the lucky one who memorized the Fagles translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey; then I'd work on Gardner's Jason and Medea.
Aug 4, 2009 4:07 pm
Katy - when I wrote that I considered Homer for the same reason. But I always preferred E. V. Rieu's translations. :)
Aug 4, 2009 5:06 pm
I'd memorize Nabokov's Ada or Ardor. The story has a sentiment for every mood - humor, romance, anger, tragedy, whimsy - plus Nabokov's prose is pure poetry. And then there are all the ingenious plays on words. Might not be the most historically important piece of literature, but this book is one I'd want in my head forever.
Aug 4, 2009 9:49 pm
I'd have to help save Shakespeare! Maybe Hamlet, Macbeth, or The Tempest? Also, I'd have to memorize some Leaves of Grass!
Aug 4, 2009 10:34 pm
I think maybe I would do the works of William Blake and or Charles Baudelaire or maybe Rainer Maria Rilke.. three of my favorites!
Aug 4, 2009 11:55 pm
can't do it. can't decide. It's like that question where they tell you your house is burning down, what would you grab. Apparently 'my library' does not count as 1 item, neither does 'my books'. Also if you had to leave your home what would you pack. my husband does not think it is funny that we are taking a suitcase filled with books and that his suitcase will be shared :D.
Another ridiculous question: describe x in one word...What on earth?! I have a huge vocab, and you want me to pick just ONE WORD! Not happening.
Ok - so maybe if I am pressured I will go with Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. Everyone else is saving classics, so I have Shakespeare, George Orwell, etc. If someone would do Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde I would really appreciate it.
Aug 5, 2009 4:21 am
keda: I have had to consider what I would grab because I live in an area that could potentially be hit by a hurricane every year.
A hurricane gives me more time to think about what to take than a fire would but it really makes you contemplate what is important and what is just "stuff".
The one time I did evacuate I left all my books, my music and my DVDs. I can buy those again. Instead I left with my computer and a box full of letters.
Aug 5, 2009 10:17 am
I would memorize The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. His words are good to remember.
Aug 5, 2009 5:52 pm
I would memorize Paul Monette's memoir, Becoming a Man. I think people in the future should know about the experience of the artist who is gay in America.
Aug 6, 2009 11:58 am
I've always been a fan of dystopian novels so I'd grab for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley(although it's possible I already have it memorized) and the hand maid's tale by Margaret Atwood.
Aug 6, 2009 4:52 pm
The Words by Jean-Paul Sartre. It's one of the most intelligent, interesting autobriography that I have ever read. An anthology of poems with pieces like Ulysses by Tennyson, by W.H. Auden Do not go gentle into that good night, and the poem (don't know the title) that says He was my North, my South, my East and West, my Working week and my Sunday Rest..., almost all the poems by Aragon, but for sure Le Roman Inachevé, some scenes from the theater of Shakespeare, Racine, Molière, the last pages of La Force de l'âge by Simone de Beauvoir, the beginning of Proust, of La Ferme Africaine by Karen Blixen, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan, The Great Gatsby by Fitzegerald . I am cheating a bit but let's say I would put it all in one book.
Aug 10, 2009 11:47 am
@domino Wow. I think you're my literary soulmate :D "Being And Nothingness" by Jean-Paul Sartre is one my favorite books.
Aug 15, 2009 12:27 pm
Poetry: John Donne, Shakespeare of course, Song of Solomon, and Ronsard for the French speaking citizens of the future dystopia. "Allons voir si la rose, qui ce matin avait declose, sa robe de poupre au soleil..." At one time in the past, I had a deep fear that I might someday be imprisoned without books, and took to memorizing poetry so I could recite to myself if I were incarcerated in the Chateau d'If, for example...
Aug 26, 2009 4:40 pm