Books set in Asia, Books Set in the South, Children's, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Finding Your Self, Historical Fiction, Lai-Thanhha, poetry, Social Commentary, Young Adult

#526 Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

 Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The Vietnam War was an interesting point in the world’s history. It wasn’t quite a world war, but it involved so much of the Earth that it seems like it should have been. We’re still feeling the effects of what happened all those years ago in Vietnam.

Ha was born in Vietnam. Her family lived somewhere in Southern Vietnam. She tried to remember her father, but he had been taken away when she was young to work in the Navy. Ha lived with her mother and three brothers. She had a papaya tree. She watched as it grew papayas. As the papayas grew, things got worse. Words came about North Vietnam. Words came about invasions. Words came about all manner of terrible things. It was finally decided that Ha, her mother, and her three brothers would leave Vietnam. At first it was only supposed to be an escape for families of Navy men, but everyone heard. The boats were crammed full of people. They barely escaped before the city they once lived in was invaded.

Ha was on the boat with many, many other people for weeks. Finally, they were found by an American boat and taken to Guam. Since Ha and her family were refugees they would have to go somewhere else that wasn’t their home. Some people said Paris. Other people said Canada. It was whispered that America had the most choices. Ha’s mother picked America.

They had to wait for a sponsor. Finally, a man sponsored Ha’s family. They moved to Alabama. The man owned a car dealership. He wanted one of Ha’s brothers to work for him. Ha’s brother was actually studying engineering before he had to leave school in Vietnam. He was pretty good with mechanical things already. At first Ha thinks that the man who has sponsored them is a cowboy and has a horse because he wears a cowboy hat, but he doesn’t have a horse. Ha is disappointed.

She has to learn English and it’s difficult for her because English is so much different from her native language. Some people are not nice to Ha and her family because they are Vietnamese. The next door neighbor is a nice woman who welcomes Ha and her family even though her son was killed in Vietnam during the war. She helps Ha learn English.

As Ha gets better at English and at school, she makes friends. She learns to adapt to her new life. It becomes evident that life will never go back to the way it was and Ha, but Ha learns to make her own life in a strange world.

What I liked

I honestly don’t recall that I have ever read a book set in Vietnam. I know I have had intentions of doing so, but I never have. Thanhha’s book was eye-opening to me. I knew that the Vietnam war and communism tore apart Vietnam, but I didn’t really have any first-hand accounts of what happened there.

This story is a work of fiction, to an extent. Thanhha’s family had to leave Vietnam much as Ha and her family had to leave Vietnam. There were many experiences that Ha experienced that Thanhha also experienced. I was quite pleased with the way Thanhha was able to incorporate this into her story, in prose no less. Yes, the story is written as something of a poem. I usually don’t like that, but in this case, Thanhha did very well and the poetry format of the book did not detract from the story.

I have thought about the idea of being a war or political refugee before. It would be tough. It would be difficult to suddenly be homeless as far as calling a country your home. You would have to rely on some other country to accept you because a person cannot be countryless. I have to commend both the fictional character of Ha and the real person Thanhha for being able to be strong enough to leave their home and make a new life in a completely different place.

What I didn’t like

I simply don’t know enough about all the politics involved in the Vietnam War to make any strong statements about anything involved with it, but I do think it’s sad that so many people had to leave their country. I really have given the idea of being a political/war refugee some thought. It would be awful. I’ve tried to get into a state of mind where I could imagine what that would be like. It would feel terrible. As someone without a country, you would never know what would happen next. Until you’re a citizen of one place or another, no country has to treat you with respect in respect to the laws that govern human rights. I’m sure the United Nations and other international organizations do have some things to say about how refugees and POWs are treated though. As a refugee you’re at the mercy of everyone else. They could be good to you or they could be bad to you.

There isn’t really a whole lot that would have prevented some of these refugees from being murdered or trafficked while they were fleeing their country. In fact, I’m sure some of that happened. Just because someone says they’re going to take you on a boat to somewhere better, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.

I think Ha and her family were lucky. None of it was easy and it wasn’t lucky that all this misfortune happened to them in the first place, but they were lucky to have gotten away. They were lucky to have found a place. They were lucky to make a new life.

I’ve read stories concerning displaced people before. It’s for one thing or the other, war, genocide, natural disaster, whatever, it happens and it’s awful. You’re essentially shoved out of your life. Good luck Buddy! Hope you’re alive in two weeks! The feeling of uncertainty must be just awful. It has to be one of the heaviest feelings in the world. Where will we go? How will we live? What will we eat? How will we talk to people? How will we get there? Will all of us make it there? Will we ever get to go back home? These are questions that are left unanswered for longer than any of us want to leave these questions left unanswered.


This book has definitely made me think about what happened to all those people who did have to leave their homes during the Vietnam War.

Weigh In

How do you think Ha’s life turned out in Alabama?

Using your imagination, if you had been a political refugee and had to make your home in a new country, would you ever want to go back to your home country, if allowed? Would the memories of the bad times there outweigh anything good that might come out of it for you or would it be a good thing to see the land in which you once lived?

Books set in Europe, Children's, Classic Fiction, Coming of age, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, poetry

#348 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The tale you know as Alice in Wonderland is actually a combination of two different books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. They’re both about Alice, but she does different things in each tale. Your beloved Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum are nowhere near Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s strange to differentiate between the two tales because we’re so used to the version we know.

If you are brand new to the world of Wonderland you should know something. The name Lewis Carroll is a pen-name. The author’s real name is Charles Dodgson and he was a mathematics teacher at Oxford. Charles Dodgson had many talents. He was also a photographer in addition to being a writer and a professor. There is some speculation as to whether Charles was a pedophile or not, this is fueled by the fact that some of his photos taken of children are in the nude. Alice was based on a real girl, Alice Liddell who was friends with Charles Dodgson. There is some speculation as to whether this friendship was more than a friendship, this also fuels the idea of Charles being a pedophile.

There are many debates over what this story is about. It’s a wonderful story full of nonsense, but some claim it’s about Alice and her growing up, especially in regards to sexual maturation. It’s an interesting theory.

Since you’re already familiar with Alice in Wonderland, let me give a brief summary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Alice is sitting with her sister as her sister reads a book without pictures or conversations. She becomes very bored and notices a white rabbit in waistcoat running past. She follows him. She goes down a rabbit hole. She falls and falls down the rabbit hole rather slowly. When she gets to the bottom she finds herself in a room with a tiny locked door. There is a key, but she’s too big. After a few exciting experiments with Alice changing height several times, she finds herself somewhere else.

She makes friends with a mouse and several strange birds. They have a boring lecture and run a caucus race, which makes absolutely no sense at all.

Alice follows the white rabbit again and ends up in his house. There she is mistaken for Mary Ann. She grows gigantic inside of the rabbit’s house. The rabbit, Bill and one other creature decide to burn the rabbit’s house down to get the gigantic Alice out. Alice manages to eat something to shrink herself and gets out of the house before more craziness ensues.

Alice soon meets a hookah pipe smoking caterpillar. He gives her some addled advice then crawls way, leaving her to know that one side of the mushroom will make her grow taller while the other side will make her grow smaller. A pigeon mistakes her for a serpent.

She finds herself at the house of a duchess. It’s very noisy and the footman stays outside. She finds her way in to find the duchess nursing a baby and the cook putting way too much pepper in everything. The baby turns into a pig and Alice meets the cheshire cat, which grins and can disappear and reappear at will.

Alice’s next stop is the mad tea party. There she meets the mad hatter, the march hare, and the dormouse. It’s always tea time because the mad hatter sang a song which murdered time. Time has been stuck on tea time ever since. The trio moves around and around the table to get clean plates because they don’t have time to wash the dirty ones. This is all too much for Alice and she leaves.

She finds herself back in the little room and is now a perfect height to fit inside of the door she could not fit in earlier. She finds herself at the Queen’s gardens. There some playing cards are painting roses red and she is invited to play croquet with the queen. The croquet game is very weird because the balls are hedgehogs, the hammers are flamingos, and the arches are playing cards bent into weird positions. The queen constantly sentences people to be beheaded.

In the middle of all of this, Alice meets the Griffin and the mock tortoise. The tortoise sings some songs and tells Alice about life under the sea. This is silly as well and Alice leaves.

She soon finds herself at a trial. The queen has accused the knave of hearts of stealing her tarts. Evidence and trial procedures are all out of order and Alice isn’t happy with it. She finds herself a witness at one point, but she soon wakes up and everything is fine, or so she thinks.

This is my quick summary for the story. It’s so well-known, it’s almost pointless to do anything more detailed.

What I liked

This book is full of nonsense and it’s wonderful. The poetry that Lewis intersperses with the text is great. I love all the crazy poems that Lewis wrote. They’re just wonderful.

I also love the illustrations in this book. The original illustrations were by a man named John Tenniel. They are wonderful drawings. I actually have a coloring book, with an abbreviated version of this story, that has some of these illustrations in it. Yes, I am an adult, and, yes, I have spent time actually coloring in this coloring book. I use my Prismacolor colored pencils and I make it all really pretty. I actually did a few of those while I was watching the show Broadchurch.

How can you not like this book? Everybody loves this book. Everybody loves this story.

The thing about this story is that it’s so famous and so debated over. I could spend posts and posts and posts picking apart this story. There is just so much there, even without tying in any of real life Alice or Lewis Carroll.

What I didn’t like

What is not to like?


This is a classic wonderful book, despite any accusations that Charles Dodgson might have been a pedophile. I am going to leave you with something awesome.

This is Benedict Cumberbatch reading The Jabberwocky. Sorry, you’re going to get a little Sherlock in the mix, but that’s not such a bad thing. The Jabberwocky is not in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it’s actually in Through the Looking Glass. I’m not trying to be intentionally confusing, I just thought you guys might like this.

P.S. Ok, I’ll make you guys something. I will make a chart, or some such thing, explaining in what book you can find what creature, what character and what poem. Got it? I will make it, just for you. Maybe I’ll even make it pretty.

alice, alice in wonderland, alice’s adventures in wonderland, Alice’s adventures in wonderland by lewis carroll, baby turns into a pig, charles dodgson, dodo bird, lewis carroll, mad hatter, march hare, queen of hearts, the cheshire cat, the duchess, through the looking glass
Books set in Europe, Carroll-Lewis, Children’s, Classic Fiction, Coming of age, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, poetry

Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, poetry, Romantic Fiction, Tolkien-J.R.R.

#243 The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien


Yes, I finally did it. I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy again. This will make the second time I have fully read the trilogy. I will admit, it took some effort. The series isn’t something you can sail through like The Hunger Games series. I made it.

The thing about this book is that it moves the fastest out of the trilogy up until a certain point. At that certain point you’re exasperated and you’re like, “Why isn’t this over?!” That’s how I feel anyways. I really feel like J.R.R. really dragged the end out on this one.

So in the beginning of this book we pick up after the battles at Helm’s Deep and the things that follow directly. Groups of the free people of Middle Earth are gathering against Sauron. Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and a few of the Rangers of the North are going on the Roads of the Dead. Everyone else thinks this is for sure suicide. People are sad, especially Eowyn. So The people of Middle Earth start their battle without these three main characters. Don’t worry though because Pippin and Merry are still around. They both play large parts in this story.

Merry has actually become good friends with King Theoden. Theoden will not let Merry ride out into battle, he also won’t let Eowyn ride into battle, what a racist sexist pig! I’m just kidding. Anyways, Eowyn decides to dress up like a man and go out to the battle anyways. She takes Merry along.

Pippin declared himself as a servant to the house of Gondor. There he will be serving the steward Lord Denethor. When Denethor sees his last son brought back from a terrible battle barely alive he cracks under the pressure. He wants to burn both himself and Faramir before they die from the battle. Pippin thinks this is a little crazy and runs off to warn Gandalf.

Eowyn and Merry tangle with the leader of the ring wraiths and win! Everybody clap! This is a pretty awesome part in both the movie and the book. You go girl! and hobbit! They are both pretty badly injured though.

Meanwhile Aragorn convinces a bunch of ghosts to fulfill an oath they broke hundreds of years before. The ghosts go with Aragorn and his group to fight a bunch of guys on ships then they storm the battle field in front of Minas Tirith. The free people of Middle Earth have been victorious in this battle. Aragorn goes around healing people with Cure + 5, no, he actually uses some weeds, (I almost just put weed. good thing for proof-reading) but I could see this being something out of a video game.

The group decides to ride out again. They want to draw Sauron’s forces out of Mordor. They end up with around seven thousand men and they go to it. It takes them a few days to get there, but they do put up a fight.

This is where book six starts and we switch over to Frodo and Sam. As you may remember, Sam has left Frodo for dead. He’s not really dead but in a stupor from Shelob’s venom. The orcs have taken Frodo to a tower. Sam works up the courage to find a way into this tower, but when he gets there he discovers everyone is dead. There are only about two orcs left out of a hundred. They have all killed each other, which is lucky for sam. Sam only ends up having to kill one orc.

Frodo is awake! Sam dresses him in Orc clothes and they make their way out of the tower. An orc or two escaped speaking of some great elf that was strong enough to hurt Shelob, but we all know it was Sam. Frodo and Sam make their way to mount Doom because they are now in Mordor.

Mordor sucks. There isn’t a lot of water and what water there is tastes terrible. Gollum is also still sneaking around. Some orcs almost catch Frodo and Sam, but for some reason Gollum has messed up the trail. Frodo becomes very weak towards the final climb to Mount Doom. Gollum ambushes them almost at the entrance, but Sam stays back to let him live again. Will somebody kill Gollum already? Anyways, Frodo gets inside Mount Doom and he’s like, “You know what? I think I’ll keep this ring.” He goes invisible, but Gollum knows where he is at. He bites off Frodo’s finger and falls into the lava of Mount Doom. The ring is gone.

This is the end right? No, it’s not. There is still plenty more to go. So some eagles pick up Sam and Frodo and take them back to Minas Tirith where Aragorn is going around healing everybody. Aragorn is crowned king. This is surely the end? Nope. Once everyone is better, Aragorn marries Arwen. There is surprisingly little romance in the book. Then everyone goes to Rohan. The end? No, not yet. Gandalf and the hobbits go to Rivendell to see BIlbo. The end? No. Gandalf leaves to go talk to Tom Bombadil and the hobbits go back to the shire. The end? Nope, not by a longshot. It seems there is this entire happening after all this. I won’t give it away because you should read it, but it was not in the movie. Actually I might give it away later in its own post, because it’s an interesting turn of events.

So about three or four chapters after you think the book should be over is the actual ending. J.R.R. wrote long chapters. Then at the back there is a huge appendix full of nerdy facts about Middle Earth.

What I liked: I liked that this book moved faster than the others until the drawn out ending. I like that things seemed resolved in the end.

What I didn’t like: I kind of wish Eowyn and Aragorn got together. Why does he have to go off and marry an elf? I like that Eowyn and Faramir got together. Eowyn is a much more rounded character than Arwen is in the book. In the movie we know it’s different, but in the book Arwen is the floaty name that people keep mentioning. She never really materializes for me.

Aragorn is so much more full of himself in the book. In the movie he is a humble character. In the book he’s like, “Yes, I’m that guy all those songs are talking about. Here’s my sword look at it.”

I don’t like all the poetry and songs in the series. I pretty much just skip right over those. I’m probably wrong for doing so, but this isn’t a poetry book, it’s a book. It has a story and it’s not a Dr. Suess tale, so I don’t get all the poetry and singing.

Overall, you should read the entire series at least once in your life.

Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, poetry, Romantic Fiction, Tolkien-J.R.R.

#236 The Fellowship Of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien


I decided to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy again. I have attempted and failed on several occasions to read the series again. I have felt that the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, can be a little piddly in the details. Sure, that tree is nice, but I’m tired of reading about it. There is also a lot of poetry and so forth. That is the primary reason why it’s so hard for me to read this series. I feel like every little detail ever is in the books. The chapters are also very long. J.R.R. was a long-winded man.

I’m still going to do a summary even though most of us know the basic story.

Let’s hop to it.

Frodo is preparing for Bilbo’s 111st birthday, that’s our kind of number. They actually call it eleventy-first. I totally would have named my website that, but I feel one-elevenbook is a little more appropriate. Who would have taken me seriously had I called it eleventy-firstbooks? Only nerds that’s who. Anyways, Bilbo is planning on leaving the Shire, forever. Nobody knows except Gandalf and Frodo. Bilbo has adopted Frodo as his heir. Screw the Sackville-Baggines! Anyways, Bilbo gives this amazingly awesome party. Everyone is there and there are presents for everybody. Bilbo gives this speech and says, “Goodbye.” He then disappears. We all know it’s because of his ring that he was able to do this awesome trick.

Time goes on and Frodo finds life in the Shire desirable. He gets to be about fifty years old and Gandalf comes storming in one day. He tells Frodo about how terrible his ring is. It’s an evil ring. It’s the one ring that rules all the other rings. Sauran is looking for it. Gollum has been found by some not so nice people and they know that the ring went to the Shire. Frodo has to leave. Samwise Gamghee gets caught up in this whole mess. Gandalf catches him eavesdropping and tells him to go with Frodo.

Frodo has actually devised an entire plan. He sells Bagend and buys a house in a nearby hobbit town, not Hobbitown, but a nearby town inhabited by hobbits. He acts like he is just moving. Meanwhile some strange riders on black horses keep asking about Frodo. Frodo does leave the Shire with Sam, but somehow Pippin and Merry also get caught up in the whole mess. They come too. There is also another hobbit in the group, but they leave him behind.

They sneak off with a blackrider on their trail. They go through an evil forest where a tree tries to kill them. Tom Bombadil comes by and saves them by singing to the tree. Tom sings to everything. Tom sings about everything. It makes me think someone might want to choke the man or whatever he is, but no one tries. Tom helps the hobbits out and then they go on their way, they head for the town of Bree. Before they can get to Bree, they get caught in a Barrow. Some creature has holed up a bunch of treasure and tries to snatch up all the hobbits. Tom helps out again.

The group finally makes it to Bree. The black riders have been there asking about Frodo. This is where the group meets Strider, or Aragorn(the best LOTR character ever). Strider says that he will guide the hobbits on their journey, but first they must pretend they’re not in the room. This is a good thing because when they wake up they find that someone has been in their intended room and smashed the heck out of everything. Things aren’t looking good. They get a pony named Bill and head out again.

At Weathertop the group is attacked by the black riders. Frodo is stabbed by one of their demonic swords and gets a pretty bad wound. The group hastens towards Rivendell. Glorfindel comes out to meet the group when they are a little ways from Rivendell. No, not Arwen or Legolas like the movie versions would have us believe. So Frodo is put on Glorfindel’s horse and sent to Rivendell. Elrond and Gandalf have to conjure up a mighty flood to get at the black riders. The riders are fine, but their horses aren’t. Everyone goes to Rivendell.

At Rivendell there is to be a council about this ring. It is here that Aragorn’s sword is reforged. This happens in this installment not in the last. That whole romance between Aragorn and Arwen is a very small thing in this book. I know the movie makes it out to be this gigantic part of the story, but J.R.R. didn’t put that much romance in the first book. So

So the council is held. The four hobbits are going, Gandalf is going, Gimli is going, Legolas is going, Aragorn is going, and Boromir is going. Boromir is a man from Minas Tirith or something. His father is Denothor, you know, that jerk we meet later on in the story? So they all set off on their journey, but without that cool scene where Gimli is like, “You have my axe.”

The try to go over the mountains bur Saruman makes it snow too much so they have to go through the mines of Moria. There is a lake monster in the lake outside the gate that tries to eat them, Nessie? Anyways, they go through the mines without event for a while. They soon start to hear drumming and they know something is in the mines. They try to scramble out but not before they meet with many orcs and the Balrog, who is a jerk.

They make it out and go to Lothlorien where Galadriel gives them a few gifts and lets them look in her mirror. They then journey on by boat with no one entirely sure where the next destination will be.

What I liked: This is a fantasy novel and I do like it. I mean, Aragorn is my favorite character pretty much ever. I like the hobbits ok. I like the elves ok. I really do like all the thought that J.R.R. put into this series even though he does get really tedious at times. The man was the ultimate nerd. If ever there was a nerd who talked about dragons and wizards and stuff, J.R.R. was the man. I don’t think anyone could top him. He invented languages for this series after all.

Some of the themes that J.R.R. uses in the series are traditional folklore. People have said for many years that there are ‘little folk.’ Just today I read an article about how in Ireland and Iceland it’s completely legal to justify not building somewhere because it might be ‘fairyland.’ This is something that still goes on today believe it or not. People have talked about wizards for ages. People have talked about elves for ages. All of this has been passed around for years, but J.R.R. made this fantasy land where all of this would be plausible. He was also buddies with C.S. Lewis by the way. C.S. wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. They had this big nerd club where they talked about fairies and stuff, I assume. I believe they actually called themselves the ‘Inklings’, but I could be getting that confused with something else. J.R.R. basically created his own little world. That takes a lot of imagination. Good for you J.R.R.!

What I didn’t like: I do really feel like this first installment of the series is really tedious. There are entire segments where not much happens at all, at least it feels that way.

After watching the entire movies series, one does forget that that’s not how it happened in the book. In ways I prefer the movie chain of events versus the book chain of events, but the book is still good as well.

If you have never read this book I issue you a word of caution. You’re going to have to be invested in reading this book. You’re going to have to make yourself do it, unless you’re one of those people who just really loves J.R.R.. You’ll be glad when you’ve finished, but the journey may be a little difficult.

Fiction, Poe-Edgar Allan, poetry

The Beauty of The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe was a little odd to say the least, but he sure could write. In fact, I love the poem of The Raven. It’s a poem about this mourning man who encounters a raven that talks. This situation would probably be commical elsewhere, but with Poe, it’s downright beautiful and spooky. The whole poem just flows so smoothly. You poetry nerds will no doubt have another name for this, but you’re reading a post from a person who is not a poetry nerd nor is she particularly fond of Shakespeare.

I have decided to post the entire text of the poem for your enjoyment. This is the the type of poem you could read around a campfire and people wouldn’t make fun of you. They would be entranced with the words that were coming out of your mouth, well, if you’re not around a redneck campfire that is. I’m not responsible for what happens if you take your book of Poe to a redneck campfire. I can hear the banjos already.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. ” ‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door; Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,. For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore, Nameless here forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, ” ‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door, Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door. This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you.” Here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there, and nothing more

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, Lenore?, This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before, “Surely,” said I, “surely, that is something at my window lattice. Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore. Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore. ” ‘Tis the wind, and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven, of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door. Perched upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door, Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore. Tell me what the lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore.” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door, Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered; Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before; On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burden bore,— Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore Of “Never—nevermore.”

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore — What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath Sent thee respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, O quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!–prophet still, if bird or devil! Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted– On this home by horror haunted–tell me truly, I implore: Is there–is there balm in Gilead?–tell me–tell me I implore!” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil–prophet still, if bird or devil! By that heaven that bends above us–by that God we both adore– Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore? Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting– “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming. And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore!