Condensed literature

Could you sum up a classic in six words? Members of Salon's community, Table Talk, take a crack at it this week.

Topics:

Imagination

Six words to great lit’rature

Lando — 01:14 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008

In honor of “the six-word short story” and “your life in six words,” this thread is open to six-word homages to classic works of literature.

Whether you want to reduce Jane Austen’s classic opening sally to six words (Truth here: Rich men need wives) or sum up Robert Frost (“Out walking. Took a new path”), this is the place to do it.

The times were good. Also bad.
A Tale of Two Cities

My name is definitely not Isaac.
Moby-Dick

Meera Hyphenated — 01:56 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #3 of 28

Bilbo took quest. Got the Ring.
The Hobbit

Twelve people tried to return it.
Fellowship of the Ring

Ring got tossed. Frodo came home.
Return of the King

Heidi Lynn — 03:53 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #5 of 28

Man catches fish. Sharks eat it.
The Old Man and the Sea

Kids sneak around, get married, die.
Romeo and Juliet

Desperate, noble poor get shafted. Repeatedly.
The Grapes of Wrath

Rapacious government consumes truth, excretes war.
1984 (or the Bush administration)

Soldier rushes fate, gets cocky, loses.
Macbeth

Lando — 04:00 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #6 of 28

Be good. Precisely how is unclear.
The Bible (Old Testament)

LaurenF — 04:48 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #8 of 28

Man sleeps with mother. Gouging ensues.
Oedipus the King

Woman sleeps with preacher. Branding ensues.
The Scarlet Letter

Tonstant Weader — 07:13 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #10 of 28

Woman sleeps with count. Suicide ensues.
Anna Karenina

Literal, symbolic rabbits are petted, mauled.
Of Mice and Men

longtime — 09:25 pm Pacific Time — May 28, 2008 — #11 of 28

Hell, Purgatory, Heaven and sweet Beatrice.
The Divine Comedy

After much dithering, revenge is deadly.
Hamlet

Three daughters, two bad, one good.
King Lear

No one misses a charming bootlegger.
The Great Gatsby

Satan falls, tricks Eve, Adam follows.
Paradise Lost



Achilles sulks. Friend dies. Achilles fights.
The Iliad

Jared2 — 06:53 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #14 of 28

Nothing happens. Then nothing happens again.
Waiting for Godot

Virgin gets knocked up by angel.
New Testament

Lando — 07:53 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #17 of 28

Red-headed orphans: Well worth the trouble.
Anne of Green Gables

Vile man pities self, hates world.
A Confederacy of Dunces

Jared2 — 09:05 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #19 of 28

Pandora opens box. Four horsemen escape.
Prometheus gives man fire; has regrets.
Pilgrims set out; much hilarity ensues.
Canterbury Tales

MGF — 09:30 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #24 of 28

The Austen Oeuvre:

Unworthy entanglements neutralized, appropriate pairings proceed.
Sense & Sensibility

Hysterical mother marries off three daughters.
Pride & Prejudice

Poor relation annoys readers, weds cousin.
Mansfield Park

Alleged spinster, failed matchmaker makes match.
Emma

Girl renounces pulp fiction, finds husband.
Northanger Abbey

Yes this time, family be damned.
Persuasion

Or, to be utterly concise:

Worthy maidens get husbands they deserve.

Randall — 11:03 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #27 of 28

Life’s not worth it. So what?
L’Etranger, Camus

LaurenF — 11:14 am Pacific Time — May 29, 2008 — #28 of 28

Man turns cockroach. No one cares.
The Metamorphosis

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon’s vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week can be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>