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Thread: Need help with a stimulus quote?

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    Senior Member Orwell's Avatar
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    Need help with a stimulus quote?

    “I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too
    much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil – I don’t know which.”


    This quote was given to us a stimulus for our creative writing piece, but I can't wrap my head around what it means.
    Macquarie Law/Arts 2018.

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    Cadet cookie_dough's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with a stimulus quote?

    Ok, this comes from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (which i did as my related for discovery).
    It is easier to understand the quote when you look at it in context. It is:

    "...You can’t understand. How could you? - with solid pavement under your feet, surrounded by kind neighbours ready to cheer you or to fall on you, stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman, in the holy terror of scandal and gallows and lunatic asylums - how can you imagine what particular region of first ages of man’s untrammelled feet may take him into by the way of solitude - utter solitude without a policeman - by the way of silence - utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbour can be heard whispering of public opinion? These little things make all the great difference. When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness. Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong - too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil - I don’t know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds...But most of us are neither one or the other...And there, don’t you see? your strength comes in, the faith in your ability for the digging of unostentatious holes to bury the stuff in - your power to devotion, not to yourself, but to an obscure, back-breaking business. And that’s difficult enough..."

    When you read the paragraph above in it's entirety it becomes self-explanatory. But basically it's saying that if you are a fool, you will be too foolish to realise evil, and therefore will not follow down a path of evil. Or if the fool is not too foolish, then the devil is too evil to be realised, meaning the path will not be followed. This is slightly confusing, but that's because both concepts are intertwined. The fool is too foolish to understand the evil which is too evil. (E.g. I am too foolish to understand 4U maths, and 4U is too difficult to understand)

    Hope this makes sense Don't be too fussed as all you need is a loose understanding of this to metaphorically use in your creative, which is under the theme of power?
    strawberrye likes this.

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    Re: Need help with a stimulus quote?

    Okay, are you saying that in either circumstance the path of evil will remain unfollowed?

    Also, any ideas as to how I can integrate this into a story format?
    Macquarie Law/Arts 2018.

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    Re: Need help with a stimulus quote?

    yes, i think it is a combination of the two. You could say in "either case" but the cases are relative to each other. If we go back to the 4U example, it is only because I AM foolish and 4U IS hard that i didnt understand it. If I wasn't a fool I would get it even if it was hard, and if it wasnt hard I could get it even if I was a fool. This means it is a combination in a quote, and the narrator has trouble identifying the solution to his problem because he is trying to look at the factors in isolation.
    And as the quote says "bargain", that hints a conscious choice on the path. A fool may follow the path of evil yet not realise. I am writing that because the more interpretations you have of the quote, the easier it will be.
    You could talk about a crime, corruption, the commercialisation of religion or simply the greedy and selfish nature of society (anything bad that catches your fancy and is deep-rooted in life/society). Put some sort of wrong in your story, and show how it is so deeply rooted and intrinsic to life that we do not notice the evil exists. And we are also fools in that we live within our little worlds and dont notice whats going on in the bigger picture etc. etc. The the excerpt again because its similar to what im saying (obv. cos thats where the stimulus came from). Even though one may not consciously "bargain", he still exists amidst evil (yet may not realise). But maybe your protagonist should come to some sort of revelation where his views change and he realises the evil (breaking out of the too foolish half of the cycle).
    Well thats just a concept you can apply to your story line, hope it helps

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