Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

“Want to go out in Dobbs Pasture?” asked Dill.

No. 1

“How about let’s make a kite?” she said. “We can get some flour from Calpurnia…” 2

“Can’t fly a kite in the summertime,” 3 said Jem. “There’s not a breath of air blowing.”

The thermometer on the back porch stood at ninety-two, the carhouse shimmered faintly in the distance, and the giant twin chinaberry trees were deadly still. 4

I know what,” said Dill. “Let’s have a revival.”

The three looked at one another. There was merit in this. 5

Dog days in Maycomb meant at least one revival, and one was in progress that week. 6 It was customary for the town’s three churches–Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian–to unite and listen to one visiting minister, but occasionally when the churches could not agree on a preacher or his salary, each congregation held its own revival with an open invitation to all; 7 sometimes, therefore, the populace was assured of three weeks’ spiritual awakening. Revival time was a time of war: war on sin, Coca-Cola, picture shows, hunting on Sunday; war on the increasing tendency of young women to paint themselves and smoke in public; war on drinking whisky–in this connection at least fifty children per summer went to the altar and swore they would not drink, smoke, or curse until they were twenty-one; war on something so nebulous Jean Louise never could figure out what it was, except there was nothing to swear concerning it; and war among the town’s ladies over who could set the best table for the evangelist. 8 Maycomb’s regular pastors ate free for a week also, and it was hinted in disrespectful quarters that the local clergy deliberately led their churches into holding separate services, thereby gaining two more weeks’ honoraria. This, however, was a lie. 9

That week, for three nights, Jem, Dill, and she had sat in the children’s section of the Baptist Church (the Baptists were hosts this time) and listened to the messages of the Reverend James Edward Moorehead, a renowned speaker from north Georgia. 10 At least that is what they were told; they understood little of what he said except his observations on hell. Hell was and would always be as far as she was concerned, a lake of fire exactly the size of Maycomb, Alabama, surrounded by a brick wall two hundred feet high. Sinners were pitchforked over this wall by Satan, and they simmered throughout eternity in a sort of broth of liquid sulfur. 11

Acting out: Literature, drama, and connecting with history by Kornfeld, John; Leyden, Georgia

Martha is an example of a student who took a long, hard look at African American history as it was and is. An eager participant in all three plays 12, Martha was a capable actress and an excellent reader;2 yet3 in I Am Rosa Parks, she frequently had difficulty delivering her lines in one scene, when she played a waitress who refuses to serve a black patron who comes in to sit at the counter4. She was supposed to ask him rudely why he had come in and tell him in no uncertain terms to get out. Some days Martha would grimace and stutter her lines;5 other times she would not deliver the lines forcefully enough. One day, as we were encouraging her to speak louder and point to the door as she sent the patron out6, Martha stopped in the middle of rehearsal and burst into tears. “I just can’t do it,” she sniffed. “I don’t want to talk so mean to him. It’s not right!”

Martha had not simply learned the historical information about discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s; she was, in a sense, living it as a member of the cast—7and rejecting the accepted values of that time. She may have previously been aware of the existence of racism past and present, but8 it had had no meaning to her until she participated in the play. As Heathcote (1983) argued9, “In drama the ‘over there’ becomes ‘here’ and the whole world is around me” (p. 695).

Breaking Up With Your Parents, by Cora Frazier

Mommy and Daddy:10

This just isn’t working out.

I feel like our relationship is stifling me creatively and personally. I’ve discovered this with the help of the expensive weekly therapy that you pay for.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t texted you for two days seeking reassurance that it’s O.K. to ask my roommate to help clean her cat’s vomit off the floor, or that I will be the richest and most famous writer ever, and you will mail one of your copies of the 1998 Northwestern Children’s Literary Review to anyone who thinks otherwise. 2

It really wasn’t anything you did. We’ve had some wonderful times together. You’ve changed my diaper on the side of the highway, explaining yourself to a state trooper while holding a container of baby wipes in one hand and a full diaper in the other.3 After I had my first ballet recital, you offered vaguely supportive comments without explicitly lying. You let me wear my first two-piece tankini bathing suit under my clothes for several days before suggesting that we wash it. You let me eat Pop-Tarts, but never Pop-Tarts with frosting. When you walked in on me rubbing myself against the Ashton Kutcher shrine in my bedroom, you immediately closed the door and apologized profusely. You accepted me during the brief time I wore a cape and wanted to be called “The Great Ba Di Di, Prince of Toilets.”

And then the honeymoon period ended. It’s hard to pin down how these things change—often they happen in unnoticeable shifts.4 Was it when I turned eighteen, left your house, and began college? Was it when I graduated from college and moved to New York City? Was it when I was approaching thirty and got engaged to someone else? I don’t know. You’ve probably felt it, too.

Of course I’m sad. Of course it hurts. I know nothing will ever be like what we had—nothing could ever compare, you must know that.5

He expects advice from me. He expects me to pay attention to the directions when we are driving somewhere, no matter how sleepy or hungry or full I feel. He expects me not to walk away from people who are talking to me because I am bored and see a cat with a weird eye. He expects gifts other than the huge cardboard head of George Washington that my brother and I bought for two dollars as a joke.

I’m sure you’ll have your own perspective on the relationship, and you’ll want to respond—I expected that. You’ll say, “That’s fine, sweetie, we love and support you no matter what.” You’ll say, “Do you know yet when you’re coming for Easter? I want to make sure we have enough beds.” You’ll say, “I saw that you called several times. I was at book group. What’s up, honey?” I hear you, I do.[footnote]Comma Splice:[/footnotes] But know that my mind is made up.

We can still be friends, of course. I’d like that. In a way, nothing has changed. I can still call you to ask for any factual information I might need to know, instead of simply Googling it. I can still come to your house and expect all my favorite foods to be in the fridge. I can still take any of your clothing, makeup, nice lotions, or valuable jewelry without asking for it or telling you that I’ve taken it, causing you to worry more than usual that you’re starting to lose your mind.[footnote]Appositive: Frazier has done an excellent job, throughout the piece, of adding specific details through appositives. Here we see that she is describing the way her mother would fret. It’s brilliant because she is first talking about taking things, not her mother at all.   I can still text you late at night, tipsy, alone in a cab: “Hey. I think about you every day.”

And of course—it goes without saying—6I will always come into your bed early on Saturday morning, jump up and down, hit you and myself with pillows until I collapse, exhausted, and need to be carried downstairs for cartoon-watching. And I will always have a lot of specific questions about Santa’s life.

And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see each other across a room offering bingo, crowded with metal walkers and free-standing breathing machines, and you’ll say, “Cora, we never thought we’d see the day . . .” And I will say, “I did. Oh, I did.” And when I win—which you may have allowed to happen, just like old times—and I’m standing, shouting, “Bingo!,” and dancing, waving my board in victory, you will stare at me with tearful smiles and say, “You make us so proud.”7 


It’s Stephen Curry’s Game Now


If you have somehow missed watching the Golden State Warriors this season, 8 you might have a quaint notion of how basketball is played. You might believe, for instance, that 3-point shots are difficult. Or that players should generally avoid hoisting jumpers 35 feet from the basket. Or that, in the N.B.A., a team cannot clinch a playoff berth in February, with six weeks left in the season. 2 None of that is true anymore, thanks to one player: Stephen Curry, a butterfly with a jump shot who is reshaping people’s understanding of the game 3. Jargon usually found on airport bookstore display racks has come to the hardwood, thanks to Curry. He is an outlier. He has caused a tipping point in basketball. The biggest disrupter in sports is on display in — where else? — the Bay Area. 4 In recent days, Curry has broken the league record for 3-pointers in a season — which he did for the first time three seasons ago — 5 and the Warriors (53-5) still have 24 games left to play, starting Tuesday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks. He has made 288 3-pointers this season, eclipsing the 286 he made last season. The Warriors could lose the rest of their games and still make the playoffs. They will not lose them all, of course, because they tend to beat nearly all of their opponents, and usually by large margins. The Warriors experienced a rare close call Saturday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder took them to overtime. Curry won the game with a looping shot from a few feet inside the half court line — once considered remarkable, now considered well within his comfort zone 6. As everyone, from players to coaches to fans, tries to make sense of Curry’s breakout performances, some context is desperately needed. To whom 7 can we compare this shooting master? Basketball has had other captivating stars like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, who all streaked to lasting fame. But the Curry phenomenon 8 is different because of his size — he is a sinewy 6 feet 3 inches, 190 pounds — and because of the way in which he dominates games by scoring far from the basket, somehow stretching the court 9 beyond its conceivable limits.

On Running After One’s Hat by G.K. Chesterton

I feel an almost savage envy on hearing that London has been flooded in my absence, while I am in the mere country10. My own Battersea has been, I understand, particularly favoured as a meeting of the waters. Battersea was already, as I need hardly say2, the most beautiful of human localities. Now that it has the additional splendour of great sheets of water, there must be something quite incomparable in the landscape (or waterscape) of my own romantic town. Battersea must be a vision of Venice. The boat that brought the meat from the butcher’s must have shot along those lanes of rippling silver with the strange smoothness of the gondola. The greengrocer who brought cabbages to the corner of the Latchmere Road must have leant upon the oar with the unearthly grace of the gondolier. There is nothing so perfectly poetical as an island;3 and when a district is flooded it becomes an archipelago.


Some consider such romantic views of flood or fire slightly lacking in reality. But really this romantic view of such inconveniences is quite as practical as the other. The true optimist who sees in such things an opportunity for enjoyment is quite as logical and much more sensible than the ordinary “Indignant Ratepayer” who sees in them an opportunity for grumbling. Real pain, as in the case of being burnt at Smithfield or having a toothache, is a positive thing; it can be supported, but scarcely enjoyed. But, after all, our toothaches are the exception, and as for being burnt at Smithfield, it only happens to us at the very longest intervals4. And most of the inconveniences that make men swear or women cry are really sentimental or imaginative inconveniences—things altogether of the mind. For instance, we often hear grown-up people complaining of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train. Did you ever hear a small boy complain of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train? No; for to him to be inside a railway station is to be inside a cavern of wonder and a palace of poetical pleasures. Because to him the red light and the green light on the signal are like a new sun and a new moon. Because to him when the wooden arm of the signal falls down suddenly, it is as if a great king had thrown down his staff as a signal and started a shrieking tournament of trains. I myself am of little boys’ habit in this matter. They also serve who only stand and wait for the two fifteen. Their meditations may be full of rich and fruitful things. Many of the most purple hours of my life have been passed at Clapham Junction, which is now, I suppose, under water. I have been there in many moods so fixed and mystical that the water might well have come up to my waist before I noticed it particularly. But in the case of all such annoyances, as I have said5, everything depends upon the emotional point of view. You can safely apply the test to almost every one of the things that are currently talked of as the typical nuisance of daily life.

For instance, there is a current impression that it is unpleasant to have to run after one’s hat. Why should it be unpleasant to the well-ordered and pious mind? Not merely because it is running, and 6 running exhausts one. The same people run much faster in games and sports. The same people run much more eagerly after an uninteresting, little leather ball than they will after a nice silk hat. There is an idea that it is humiliating to run after one’s hat; and when people say it is humiliating they mean that it is comic. It certainly is comic; but man is a very comic creature, and most of the things he does are comic—eating, for instance. And the most comic things of all are exactly the things that are most worth doing—such as making love. A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a wife.

Now a man could, if he felt rightly in the matter, run after his hat with the manliest ardour and the most sacred joy. He might regard himself as a jolly huntsman pursuing a wild animal, for certainly no animal could be wilder. In fact, I am inclined to believe that hat-hunting on windy days will be the sport of the upper classes in the future. There will be a meet of ladies and gentlemen on some high ground on a gusty morning. They will be told that the professional attendants have started a hat in such-and-such a thicket, or whatever be the technical term. Notice that this employment will in the fullest degree combine sport with humanitarianism. The hunters would feel that they were not inflicting pain. Nay, they would feel that they were inflicting pleasure, rich, almost riotous pleasure, upon the people who were looking on. When last I saw an old gentleman running after his hat in Hyde Park, I told him that a heart so benevolent as his ought to be filled with peace and thanks at the thought of how much unaffected pleasure his every gesture and bodily attitude were at that moment giving to the crowd.

The same principle can be applied to every other typical domestic worry. A gentleman trying to get a fly out of the milk or a piece of cork out of his glass of wine often imagines himself to be irritated. Let him think for a moment of the patience of anglers sitting by dark pools, and let his soul be immediately irradiated with gratification and repose. Again, I have known some people of very modern views driven by their distress to the use of theological terms to which they attached no doctrinal significance, merely because a drawer was jammed tight and they could not pull it out. A friend of mine was particularly afflicted in this way. Every day his drawer was jammed, and every day in consequence it was something else that rhymes to it. But I pointed out to him that this sense of wrong was really subjective and relative; it rested entirely upon the assumption that the drawer could, should, and would come out easily. “But if,” I said, “you picture to yourself that you are pulling against some powerful and oppressive enemy, the struggle will become merely exciting and not exasperating. Imagine that you are tugging up a lifeboat out of the sea. Imagine that you are roping up a fellow-creature out of an Alpine crevass. Imagine even that you are a boy again and engaged in a tug-of-war between French and English.” Shortly after saying this I left him; but I have no doubt at all that my words bore the best possible fruit. I have no doubt that every day of his life he hangs on to the handle of that drawer with a flushed face and eyes bright with battle, uttering encouraging shouts to himself7, and seeming to hear all round him the roar of an applauding ring.

So8 I do not think that it is altogether fanciful or incredible to suppose that even the floods in London may be accepted and enjoyed poetically. Nothing beyond inconvenience seems really to have been caused by them; and inconvenience, as I have said, is only one aspect, and that the most unimaginative and accidental aspect of a really romantic situation. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. The water that girdled the houses and shops of London must, if anything, have only increased their previous witchery and wonder. For as the Roman Catholic priest in the story said: “Wine is good with everything except water,” and on a similar principle, water is good with everything except wine.


Source: http://essays.quotidiana.org/chesterton/running_after_ones_hat/

All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr

7 August 1944
The Boy

Five streets to the north, a white-haired eighteen-year-old9 German private named Werner Pfennig wakes to a faint staccato hum. Little more than a purr. Flies tapping2 at a far-off windowpane.

Where is he? The sweet, slightly chemical scent of gun oil; the raw wood of newly constructed shell crates; the mothballed odor of old bedspreads—he’s in the hotel. Of course. L’hôtel des Abeilles, the Hotel of Bees.

Still night. Still early.3.

From the direction of the sea4 come whistles and booms; flak is going up.

An anti-air corporal hurries down the corridor, heading for the stairwell. “Get to the cellar,” he calls over his shoulder, and Werner switches on his field light, rolls his blanket into his duffel, and starts down the hall.

Not so long ago, the Hotel of Bees was a cheerful address, with bright blue shutters on its facade and oysters on ice in its café and5 Breton waiters in bow ties polishing glasses behind its bar. It offered twenty-one guest rooms, commanding sea views, and a lobby fireplace as big as a truck. Parisians on weekend holidays would drink aperitifs here, and before them the occasional emissary from the republic—ministers and vice ministers and abbots and admirals6—and in the centuries before them, windburned corsairs: killers, plunderers, raiders, seamen7.

Before that, before it was ever a hotel at all, five full centuries ago, it was the home of a wealthy privateer who gave up raiding ships to study bees in the pastures outside Saint-Malo, scribbling8 in notebooks and eating honey straight from combs. The crests above the door lintels still have bumblebees carved into the oak; the ivy-covered fountain in the courtyard is shaped like a hive. Werner’s favorites are five faded frescoes on the ceilings of the grandest upper rooms, where bees as big as children float against blue backdrops, big lazy drones and workers with diaphanous wings—where, above a hexagonal bathtub, a single nine-foot-long queen, with multiple eyes and a golden-furred abdomen, curls across the ceiling.

Over the past four weeks, the hotel has become something else: a fortress. A detachment of Austrian anti-airmen has boarded up every window, overturned every bed. They’ve reinforced the entrance, packed the stairwells with crates of artillery shells. The hotel’s fourth floor, where garden rooms with French balconies open directly onto the ramparts, has become home to an aging high-velocity anti-air gun called an 88 that can fire twenty-one-and-a-half-pound shells nine miles.

Her Majesty, the Austrians call their cannon, and for the past week these men have tended to it the way worker bees might tend to a queen. They’ve fed her oils, repainted her barrels, lubricated her wheels; they’ve arranged sandbags at her9 feet like offerings.

The royal acht acht, a deathly monarch meant to protect them all10this appositive helps the reader understand the significance of the acht acht where they otherwise would have glossed over it. It’s description helps the reader see the vital importance of these two unfamiliar words[/fragment].


1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips

The Patriots of 1774, too ready to consider both pullbacks as proof of the colonies’ new stature and commercial muscle, would have done better to pay close attention to the March 1770 parliamentary debates. North had emphasized the need to end a seven-year pattern of inconsistent policy tied to ever-changing ministries and policy-makers[1]: “Our conduct has already varied greatly with respect to America. These variations have been the greatest cause of difficulty.” George Grenville, [2]the architect of the ill-fated Stamp Act, agreed: officeholders, he thought, had “given way from one step to another, from one idea to another, till we know not upon what ground we stand.” To Wedderburn, [3]the solicitor general, even the partial repeal bill they were debating was “a step further in that repeated contradiction which has obtained with America.” Such “fluctuations of administration,” agreed another Cabinet member, [4]Henry Conway, had sapped government credibility. That was certainly true.[5]

The incessant politics of faction had also contributed. The Whig rivals who had displaced Grenville and come to power in 1766 were younger and inexperienced, as well as relatively pro-American. They had repealed the Stamp Act more readily on both counts. The 15 percent decline in exports to North America was only one factor.[6]

In the 1770 debate, North freely acknowledged that the 1767 Townshend Act levies, the brainchild of an earlier ministry[7], had been commercially misconceived. Proponents had naively sought “American” revenue by placing duties on certain products—paper, lead paints, and glass, for example[8]—principally manufactured in Britain. Besides, as some repeal-minded petitions pointed out, such added levies only encouraged the colonists to think about making these items themselves. North’s new regime was rectifying another ministry’s mistake.

[1] Colon, Ind. CL before and after colon, first to set up quote with summative background. Adds ethos bc author is able to understand primary source and have it support his argument.

[2] Appositive, to give pertinent info. about noun, pointing out that this person has experience in failed policies, even being the author of one, first character mentioned means prob. more important person to mention

[3] Appositive identifying another prominent authority that agrees with what’s been said and supports author’s argument.

[4] Appositive less important authority, but used for fourth emphasis of agreement. Bc name came after as appositive, it emphasizes first words like “another” and “Cabinet” to make it seem like the whole Cabinet agrees about it.

[5] Short sentence, paragraph closer. Ending with author, reigns in the external quotes as part of his opinion, makes him sound smart.

[6] Short paragraph following long paragraph, gives reader clearer understanding, paragraphs more focused on one idea, variation in length keeps readers attention.

[7] Appositive Renaming, suggests condescension for term, suggests it was bad without explaining about it in detail.

[8] Dash—to show examples that the reader might ask about while reading through the sentence in a brief way. Use to break up monotony of many appositives. Use when not discussing main subject, a quick tangent. Discussing objects.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

When[1] Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor[2] a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it[3]. Even the grass was not green, for[4] the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but[5] the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.

When[6] Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober grey;[7] they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were grey also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled, now. When Dorothy, [8]who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy’s merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.

Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, [9]from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.

[1] Adverbial clause, suggests that Dorothy’s thoughts will follow. It also makes the following descriptions less boring by having a different start and a compound sentence. If you took away the “when” and just made it a sentence, it would set the tone as being short and simple sentences one after the other, and how quite trite that would sound.

[2] “Nor” is a FANBOY, but here it’s just a negative substitute for “or,” and has the effect of suggesting the scene had no good qualities.

[3] Absolute phrase, further detailing the condition of the soil, “cracks running…” Gives a clearer image of the soil as dry and suggests poor land to farm on, and evokes the question as to why people live there.

[4] Coordinating conjunction/FANBOY to connect the two clauses. The second is closely connected to the first and so, it flows better to have them joined by a comma and “for.”

[5] “But” used because two clauses contrast. The beginning suggests positive/hope but the second, longer clause has more negatives to overcome that hope, which gives the feeling that this place really kills everything.

[6] The “when” suggests dependency, and combined with the period separating it into its own sentence it serves to assert the main subject and provide one sentence to be contrasted by the rest of the paragraph.

[7] Semi-colon used because both independent clauses closely related, in fact the clauses are repetitive. It serves to create strong imagery of fading colors.

[8] Appositive, describing Dorothy as an orphan, which helps explain why she is living with her Aunt and Uncle.

[9] Not quite an absolute because no noun-adj. combination, but does focus in on noun details to show what the uncle looked like. The image is kind of strange, and suggests he is an old man and kind of a wilderness man.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

The ring of Connor’s cell phone wakes him out of a deep sleep.  He fights consciousness.11  He wants to go back to the dream he was having.  It was about a place he was sure he had been to, although he couldn’t quite remember when.2     He was at a cabin on a beach with his parents, before his brother was born.  Connor’s leg has fallen through a rotted board on the porch into spiderwebs so thick, they felt like cotton.  Connor had screamed and screamed from the pain, and the fear of the giant spiders that he was convinced would eat his leg off.  And yet,this was a good dream3—a good memory—4 because his father was there to pull him free, and carry him inside, where they bandaged his leg and set him by the fire with some kind of cider so flavorful, he could still taste it when he thought about it.5 His father told him a story that he can no longer remember, but that’s all right.  It wasn’t the story but the tone of his voice that mattered, a gentle baritone rumble as calming as waves breaking on a shore.6Little-boy-Connor drank his cider and leaned back against his mother pretending to fall asleep, but what he was really doing was trying to dissolve into the moment and make it last forever.  In the dream he did dissolve.  His whole being flowed into the cider cup, and his parents placed it gently on the table, close enough to the fire to keep it warm forever and always.

Stupid dreams.7 Even the good ones are bad, because they remind you how poorly reality measures up.

Letter of Recommendation: ‘Pinky and the Brain’ by Jonah Weiner

“Pinky and the Brain,” a cartoon that aired for half of the 1990s 8, is a three-chord kind of show, as bound by formal constraints as they come. Before spinning off into its own half-hour slot 2, the series began life as the best thing about “Animaniacs,” an exuberantly unhinged variety cartoon executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and packed with non-sequitur punch lines, meta-level laughs and so many showbiz in-jokes that you could forget this was a show nominally made for kids 3. “Pinky and the Brain” stood out for its ingenuity and extreme economy. The show has only two recurring characters to speak of — the talking lab mice of the title — 4 and precisely one plot, set into motion in the opening moments of each installment with the same 23 words: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” “The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.”


That the mice will deploy some scheme for world domination is the lone narrative motor, and that their failure is guaranteed provides not only the inevitable third-act kicker but also the condition of the show’s continued existence: a reset button that returns the mice to the lab to plot again. The pair is at once idiosyncratic and archetypal, in a vaudevillian kind of way. Brain is a hyperintelligent, short-tempered straight man voiced by a guy doing a stentorian Orson Welles impression; Pinky is daffy and sweet and speaks in an over-the-top Cockney accent 5.

They are given no back story beyond a stray line in the theme song (“Their genes have been spliced”), and they learn no lessons by episode’s end. Characterization takes the form, instead, of kid-friendly, broken-record repetition 6. In every episode, while unveiling the plan at hand, Brain will ask Pinky, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?”–a question so ritualized that fans refer to it by “AYPWIP”–to which Pinky will offer a reliably outré response. “I think so, Brain, but I can’t memorize a whole opera in Yiddish.” “I think so, Brain, but Pete Rose? I mean, can we trust him?” “I think so, but Kevin Costner with an English accent?”