To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


A Tell-Tale Heart -Edgar Allan Poe

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded –with what caution –with what foresight –with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it –oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly –very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously –cautiously (for the hinges creaked) –I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights –every night just at midnight –but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.”

Source: Public Domain

The Ledgend of Sleepy Hollow -Washington Irving

“I believe it was the very peculiarity of its name and the idea of something mystic and dreamy connected with it that first led me in my boyish ramblings into Sleepy Hollow. The character of the valley seemed to answer to the name; the slumber of past ages apparently reigned over it; it had not awakened to the stir of improvement which had put all the rest of the world in a bustle. Here reigned good, old long-forgotten fashions; the men were in home-spun garbs, evidently the product of their own farms and the manufacture of their own wives; the women were in primitive short gowns and petticoats, with the venerable sun-bonnets of Holland origin. The lower part of the valley was cut up into small farms, each consisting of a little meadow and corn-field; an orchard of sprawling, gnarled apple-trees, and a garden, where the rose, the marigold, and the hollyhock were permitted to skirt the domains of the capacious cabbage, the aspiring pea, and the portly pumpkin. Each had its prolific little mansion teeming with children; with an old hat nailed against the wall for the housekeeping wren; a motherly hen, under a coop on the grass-plot, clucking to keep around her a brood of vagrant chickens; a cool, stone well, with the moss-covered bucket suspended to the long balancing-pole, according to the antediluvian idea of hydraulics; and its spinning-wheel humming within doors, the patriarchal music of home manufacture.

The Hollow at that time was inhabited by families which had existed there from the earliest times, and which, by frequent intermarriage, had become so interwoven, as to make a kind of natural commonwealth. As the families had grown larger the farms had grown smaller; every new generation requiring a new subdivision, and few thinking of swarming from the native hive. In this way that happy golden mean had been produced, so much extolled by the poets, in which there was no gold and very little silver. One thing which doubtless contributed to keep up this amiable mean was a general repugnance to sordid labor. The sage inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow had read in their Bible, which was the only book they studied, that labor was originally inflicted upon man as a punishment of sin; they regarded it, therefore, with pious abhorrence, and never humiliated themselves to it but in cases of extremity. There seemed, in fact, to be a league and covenant against it throughout the Hollow as against a common enemy. Was any one compelled by dire necessity to repair his house, mend his fences, build a barn, or get in a harvest, he considered it a great evil that entitled him to call in the assistance or his friend? He accordingly proclaimed a ‘bee’ or rustic gathering, whereupon all his neighbors hurried to his aid like faithful allies; attacked the task with the desperate energy of lazy men eager to overcome a job; and, when it was accomplished, fell to eating and drinking, fiddling and dancing for very joy that so great an amount of labor had been vanquished with so little sweating of the brow.”

Prose – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

December 19, 1991 Dear friend,
I have since received thrift store “slacks.” I have also received a tie, a white shirt, shoes, and an old belt. I’m guessing that my last gift at the party will be a suit coat because it’s the only thing left. I was told by a typed note to wear everything I had been given to the party. I hope there is something behind this. The good news is that Patrick liked all my gifts very much. Gift number three was a set of watercolor paints and some paper. I thought he might like to get them even if he never uses them. Gift number four was a harmonica and a book about playing it. I guess it’s probably the same gift as the water colors, but I really think that everyone should have watercolors, magnetic poetry, and a harmonica. My last gift before the party is a book called The Mayor of Castro Street. It is about a man named Harvey Milk, who was a gay leader in San Francisco. I went to the library when Patrick told me he was gay, and I did some research because I honestly didn’t know much about it. I found an article about a documentary movie about Harvey Milk. And when I couldn’t find the movie, I just searched for his name, and I found this book. I have not read it myself, but the description on the book seemed very good. I hope that it means something to Patrick. I can’t wait for the party, so I can give Patrick my party present. Incidentally, I have taken all my finals for the semester, and it has been very busy, and I would have told you all about it, but it just doesn’t seem as interesting as these other things that have to do with holidays.
Love always,

Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky