So the stories are fine, we all agree, absolutely smashing. But inside each of these, like jewels in rare boxes, are certain passages that thrill us, that make us want to keep reading. Considering only the imagery of the prose, what are some of your favorite lines or paragraphs?
For example, from the very beginning of Something Wicked This Way Comes we have the following: "So the salesman jangled and clanged his huge leather kit in which oversized puzzles of ironmongery lay unseen but which his tongue conjured from door to door until he came at last to a lawn which was cut all wrong."
Here are three (among scores):
"And they came to a forest that had been like November all through the winter and now, reluctantly, was putting out green flags to welcome the season. Butterflies in great tosses of confetti leaped from the deeps of the forest to ramble drunkenly on the air, their thousand torn shadows following over grass and water."
- "The Other Highway"
"Birth was quick as a knife. Childhood was over in a flash. Adolescence was a sheet of lightning. Manhood was a dream, maturity a myth, old age an inescapably quick reality, death a swift certainty."
- "Frost and Fire"
And not as poetic, but it still makes me shiver:
"David... remembered seeing the baby, awake in the dark, awake very late at night when babies should be asleep. Awake and lying there, silent as thought, not crying, but watching from its crib. He thrust the thought aside. It was insane."
- "The Small Assassin"
Want more? I got 'em!
Since my arm's about fallen off from typing quotes of passages so lengthy they're in serious danger of violating "fair use" in the copyright act, I'll abstain for now. They can be found under the thread "Any Thoughts on From the Dust Returned?" (And, Lance, are you sorry yet you asked?) Don't read my part of the thread, though, unless you've read both the original stories and the novel--too many "spoilers."
Yes, there are so many! How about John Huff in Dandelion Wine?
Thr facts about John Huff, aged twelve, are simple and soon stated. ..he could live underwater two minutes and slide fifty yards downstream where you last saw him. The baseballs you pitched him, he hit in apple trees, knocking down harvests. He could jump six-foot orchard walls, swing up branches..and come down, fat with peaches. He ran laughing. He sat easy. He was not a bully. He was kind. His hair was dark and curly, his teeth were white as cream. He remembered all the words to the cowboy songs and would teach you if you asked. ...He was, in fact, the only god living in the whole of Green Town, Illinois, during the twentieth century that Douglas Spaulding knew of.
Ah, to be a bit like this character in our daily lives, or to have a friend as such!
[Also, in a few other very powerful selections from DW: Colonel Freeleigh's (the time machine) descriptions from his youth -especially the Civil War and the great herd of buffalo; the spiritual passing of Great grandmother Spaulding after speaking to each of her loved ones; the painful departure of John Huff as the boys play "statues"; and Mr. Jonas delivering the two bottles of life saving air to a deeply trouble Douglas!
From Dand. Wine, my favorite section is where grandpa wakes up and hears the first grass cutting of the season..."Grandfather imagined it tickled his legs, spraying his warm face, filling his nostrils with the timeless scent of a new season begun, with the promise that, yes, we'll all live another 12 months! God bless the lawnmover, he thought."
It's exactly how all the men in my family feel!
Out Of The Glorious
Message Board Past....
...another interesting topic...
Have many, of course...but here's one.....
""The old man sat by the gallery table, his hands in his lap. He looked at them and they were like speckled trout idling beneath frosty waters, the exhalations of his faint breath on the air. He had seen such trout as these surfacing in the mountain streams when he was ten. He became fascinated with their trembling motion there below, for as he watched they seemed to grow paler...""
'And The Sailor, Home From The Sea'
[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 12-21-2002).]
"I've always wanted to see a Martian," said Michael. "Where are they, Dad? You promised."
"There they are," said Dad, and he shifted Michael on his shoulder and pointed straight down.
.........The Martians were there - in the canal - reflected in the water.
Timothy and Michael and Robert and Mom and Dad.
The Martians stared back up at them for a long, long, silent time from the rippling water...
From the Martian Chronicles, of course
"The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm."
--Something Wicked This Way Comes
Probably the greatest opening sentence to a novel ever.
Greg, that is indeed a wondrous opening line -- if you're starting from the 1st chapter point of view! I still prefer "First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys," thus starting the prologue of the novel. But we all have our own tastes and ideas of great lines, eh?
For me, "The Emissary" has always shined beautifully with Bradbury's great love for Autumn; massive paragraphs display his unique vision and style, and offer many wonderful passages from which to quote. Here's merely a handful:
"Martin knew it was autumn again, for Dog ran into the house bringing wind and frost and a smell of apples turned to cider under trees. In dark clock-springs of hair, Dog fetched goldenrod, dust of farewell-summer, acorn-husk, hair of squirrel, feather of departed robin, sawdust from fresh-cut cordwood, and leaves like charcoals shaken from a blaze of maple trees. Dog jumped. Showers of brittle fern, blackberry vine, marsh-grass sprang over the bed where Martin shouted. No doubt, no doubt of it at all, this incredible beast was October!"
"But he knew without hearing where Dog had rattled down hills where autumn lay in cereal crispness, where children lay in funeral pyres, in rustling corner, heaps, the leaf-buried but watchful dead, as Dog and the world blew by."
" ... and she was so young and laughing and handsome and her hair was a soft, shining brown like the season outside the window, and she walked clear, clean and quick, a heartbeat warm in the bitter afternoon when he heard it."
"In the late last days of October, Dog began to act as if the wind had changed and blew from a strange country. He stood quivering on the porch below. He whined, his eyes fixed at the empty land beyond town. He brought no visitors for Martin. He stood for hours each day, as if leashed, trembling, then shot away straight, as if someone had called."
"To Martin, Hallowe'en had been nothing more than one evening when tin horns cried off in the cold autumn stars, children blew like goblin leaves along the flinty walks, flinging their heads, or cabbages, at porches, soap-writing names or similar magic symbols on icy windows. All of it as distant, unfathomable, and nightmarish as a puppet show seen from so many miles away that there is no sound or meaning."
And finally ...
"It was a smell of strange earth. It was a smell of night within night, the smell of digging down deep in shadow through earth that had lain cheek by jowl with things that were long hidden and decayed. A stinking and rancid soil fell away in clods of dissolution from Dog's muzzle and paws. He had dug deep. He had dug very deep indeed."
This is such a great subject, I just had to bring it back. I agree with Greg about "The seller of lightning rods". 25 yrs. after reading that ,and never hearing it quoted, I've never forgotten it. There's also a GREAT paragraph in "The Lost City Of Mars" which I can't lay down here because I lost my copy. It's the paragraph where Ray describes the thrill of repeatedly experiencing death and the several different ways "the ride" offers death to the rider. If someone could type that up for me I'd be grateful, haven't seen it since 1988.(:
On the subject of "Great Opening Lines". I recently read that one of Theodore Sturgeon's favorite exercises with "The Group" was for everyone in the room to come up with an opening line right there on the spot. Some of these opening lines found their way into stories and if a member of the group liked another members opening line they were often granted permission to use it. Ray Bradbury said of "The Group","Richard Matheson would toss up the merest dustfleck of a notion, which would bounce off William F. Nolan, knock against George Clayton Johnson, glance off me, and land in Charles Beaumont's lap. Sometimes we all loved an idea so much we had to assign it to the writer present who showed the widest grin, the brightest cheeks, the most fiery eyes." WOW!. Can you imagine just being a fly on the wall at one of these meetings?
okay, i'm new to the forum, but my favorite passage is this one, from fahrenheit 451. this is the passage that made me fall in love with bradbury's writings.
"As he stood there the sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands had torn ten thousand miles of black lines down the seam. Montag was cut in half. He felt his chest chopped down and split apart. The jet bombers going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him. He opened his own mouth and let their shriek come down and out between his bared teeth. The house shook. The flare went out in his hand.
"He felt that the stars had been pulverized by the sound of the black jets and that in the morning the earth would be covered with their dust like a strange snow. That was his idiot thought as he stood shivering in the dark, and let his lips go on moving and moving..."
its a bit lengthy, but so powerful. i was moved by this passage like nothing i've ever read before.
I have to go with the description of Grandma's savory kitchen from Dandelion Wine. While reading that, one can smell the herbs and spices, and almost taste the mtsterious concoctions that came from Grandma's kitchen to the delighted boarders at the dining room table.
Also from Dandelion Wine, I love the description of the boys rolling down the grassy summer-green hill, their "mouths full of sunshine". Only Bradbury could convey so much with four words. Took me back to magical endless summers, many moons ago. That is a gift from the author...he helps us travel back through time, and re-savor our youth and the wonders of same. While the phrase may sound strange, the reader knows EXACTLY what RB means. it is a time, a mood, a taste, a feeling...and it is perfectly conveyed.
My favorite passages are from FH451, and are the ones where the girl was there. I dunno about you, but i wanted to meet her.
I Found It. Got a new copy of "I Sing The Body Electric". Here it is. From "The Lost City Of Mars".
"I see,"said the poet."I do begin to see. I begin to know what this and what used for, for such as me, the poor wandering idiots of a world, confused, and sore put upon by mothers as soon as dropped from wombs, insulted with Christian guilt, and gone mad from the need of destruction, and collecting a pittance of hurt here and scar tissue there, and a larger portable wife grievance beyond, but one thing sure, we do want to die, we do want to be killed, and here's the very thing for it, in convenient quick pay! So pay it out, machine, dole it out, sweet raving device! Rape away, Death! I'm your very man."
[This message has been edited by grasstains (edited 02-12-2004).]
|Powered by Social Strata||Page 1 2|