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Chapter 9: The Man in Spectacles August 21, 2007

Posted by Ashleigh in The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton.

1. At one point Syme starts rambling about his favorite words. What’s your favorite word and why?

2. What do you think of Syme’s statement: “Always be comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?”

3. What did you think of Syme and the Professors interaction with the Doctor?

4. When discussing their upcoming meeting with The Marquis, Syme proposes “at the earliest opportunity to know his hat off.” How do you think this will help in stopping the anarchist attack?

5. Any thoughts or insights you want to share?


1. Michelle - August 21, 2007

1. Oooh. Great question. I’ll have to think about that one. I do love words.

2. Ha ha. That is funny that you chose this quote. I was actually going to comment on it. I feel I should adopt it as my new phrase “what the deuce else can you do?”. Regarding the first half, I think comedy and tragedy pair well together.

2. Ashleigh - August 22, 2007

As someone with a theater background, I couldn’t help but find this quote from the Professor amusing:

“You must excuse my manner … my position is rather a curious one. Inside I am really bursting with boyish merriment; but I acted the paralytic Professor so well, that now I can’t leave off. So that when I am among friends, and have no need at all to disguise myself, I still can’t help speaking slow and wrinkling my forehead—just as if it were my forehead. I can be quite happy, you understand, but only in a paralytic sort of way. The most buoyant exclamations leap up in my heart, but they come out of my mouth quite different.”

Made me think of the method approach to acting. I think that I read once that when Vivian Leigh was playing Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind that she was so into the part and what Scarlett was feeling, that she had a hard time separating from it when the camera wasn’t rolling. Sounds similar to the Professor’s problem of not being able to put off the Professor when “off stage,” so to speak.

As far as the quote, “Always be comic in a tragedy,” I think it somewhat sums up this book. There are so many elements that could be considered “tragic” — such as anarchists trying to take over the world and the hands of the police being tied by vows of secrecy — yet it’s presented in such a comedic way.

3. Danielle - August 24, 2007

3. This was very interesting that they’ve discovered another policeman in their midst. I’m beginning to wonder how many of these guys are actually anarchist, or will everyone end up being in the police force! It’s also interesting that they’ve all been “interviewed” by the man in the dark they never see. I’m wondering if there’s a connection between this man and Sunday. Are they one in the same? I don’t know why I think this, but I feel like there must be some connection.

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