Book Union or How I learned to stop reading books

javier's picture

Hello everyone I am back after my self exile. I kid, I've just been busy with school work, working on getting excellent grades. That's an excellent goal I have. Anyway since I don't have much to write I thought I'd share my very first act I've wrote all by myself. The title is the title of this journal entry. I wrote it for a contest in my english class. We had to write an act about books and I did this piece. I won third place. The person who won first wrote about a girl character who read books that took her to different worlds and she learned morals and all that nonsense. So without any other distractions here it is: my tat act for the fat lady.

Characters:

Robert Mcmurphy - a book enthusiast
Mrs. Ratched - a book store owner
Inspector Ivanovna - a book customer

Scene: We see a man standing in front of a wall. He is speaking.

Robert: You want to know something? In a few minutes I’ll be publicly executed. It’s because of an incident involving books and a woman. The usual. And now I hate, absolutely hate books. But I'll tell you I didn’t always hate them. I used to love reading books. I’d read them every day, and every night and occasionally when I went to the bathroom. That loving feeling changed when I walked into a bookstore. You may be wondering what I did: did I steal a book? Did I kill a bookstore owner? Did I kill a bookstore owner with a stolen book? Well I didn’t do any of that, I did something far more surprising.

Scene: A book-loving man is looking for books to add to his collection and needs a few to complete it. He finds a bookstore called "Freedom from First Amendment Bookstore: Where we expect you to Respect Our Freedom from Freedom"

Robert: Where am I?

Scene: After muttering to himself, he enters and finds the store is mostly empty with a few shelves holding books and most holding dust. There is also a large eye overlooking the store. He sees the bookstore owner reading a book called The Great Stalini. He looks around the shelves and feeling dissatisfied, asks the owner for help.

Robert: Excuse me miss, but I'm in a predicament. You see I am a foreigner who appreciates exciting literary works of art. I'm looking for a copy of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain to add to my collection of book masterpieces, and I can't seem to find it. Do you happen to have a copy lying around? (Exaggerate) Somewhere, perhaps behind the counter.

Mrs. Ratched: As much as I'd like to help, I can't. Sir, what you are asking me to do is fetch you my only copy, already labeled for destruction, of a racist book that not only offends anyone named Jim, but it hurts the feelings of non-white people. The way it promotes mistreatment of non-white people is utterly idiotic.

Robert: Ms., are you well aware that the book has no influence in promoting racism whatsoever and if anything is widely considered the American novel by the likes of Ernest Hemingway. Even H.L Mencken notes that his discovery of this classic American novel was, and I quote, "the most stupendous event of my whole life." And T.S Eliot called Huck, again I quote, "one of the most permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet..." The novel is a wonderful imaginative recreation of boyhood adventures along the mighty Mississippi River, its inspired characterization and Mr. Twain's remarkable ear for dialogue. That explains why he used certain words because people back then spoke differently than we do now.

Mrs. Ratched: Sir, I am distrusting of people who have their first name abbreviated so I wouldn't care what the men you quoted have said and secondly, how can you prove everything you said about the book?

Robert: Present to me your copy and I'll show you.

Scene: the customer who was reading a book gets up, intrigued by what is going on and approaches Mrs. Ratched and Robert.

Ivanovna: Hello acquaintances! My name is Ivano-- I mean... Olga. Yes that is my name. I couldn’t help but overhear your interesting conversation on an unusual book. I would like to see this uh... huckleberry Finn.

Scene: Mrs. Ratched reaches into a box labeled "Books that influence sexual, racist, violent, or destructive behaviors, or any variation of these" Inside we see various books labeled with an "X" sticker. They include The Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and others.

Robert: Allow me to read it to both of you.

Mrs. Ratched: Surprise me.

Ivanovna: (Uninterested) Yes, surprise us.

Scene: an hour has passed and Robert has just finished the book.

Mrs. Ratched: (Smiling) Oh I understand! Good sir, I understand! I have seen the light from my cave, from the darkness of my ignorance, and a stranger has brought me out! I can see clearly now. I now know the truth, the difference between the reality that was hidden from me and the constant feeding of lies about a twisted, delusional reality that had impacted my thinking and perception of the truth. And I live, like many other people, in a society that demands everyone listen to a power figure, but we can never voice objection nor what we believe. It is a scary feeling: knowing that whatever you do, whatever you say, whatever you think, is monitored by the thought police. I have now left the cave, the darkness of ignorance, the place where I didn’t know the difference between what I learned and what I could’ve learned. But, I must ask, do you agree... do you agree with what I say? I only ask so I can reassure my mind I am free.

Robert: Yes, madam, I agree. I am most happy you have seen the light, the truth, the way of life. The cave is a scary place, I know; I was there. And now that I am out of it, with the help of books, I know why you were so afraid, but it’s ok. It’s ok to leave the cave. This great book helped me understand a great moral that contradicts when you said it promotes mistreatment, rather Mark Twain portrays Jim as ignorant and stubborn. He is stereotyped as a typical black man from the time because he possessed these traits. Then, when he and Huck go through their journey together, Huck sees him as a person, not just a slave or a lesser being. The moral of the story is that people shouldn’t be treated differently because of their race, and that slavery and racial discrimination are morally wrong. Twain points out the stupidity of slavery using techniques such as satire and irony by showing society’s viewpoints of what is right and wrong in contrast to what Huck comes to find is right through his experience of befriending Jim. So sell me the copy and I shall teach anyone I encounter why this book is great.

Ivanovna: Aha! You fell for our trap! And have just confessed! You are under arrest for finding a moral in the story, attempting to brainwash a civilian, attempting to change someone’s pre-determined mind, attempt to purchase an illegal book, reading an illegal book in a public place, speaking your mind in a public place. You now should shut up, anything you say will add 5 years to your sentence, you have no right to an attorney, a lawyer will be provided, although he won’t fight for you, do you understand that you have no rights?

Robert: All I did was read a book. Shouldn't you arrest her too? I mean she did hear me reading and shouldn't you arrest yourself too for hearing this poisonous book?

Mrs. Ratched: I’m an undercover commissar. Ha! You should’ve seen the look on your face when I said I’m out of the cave. Like what were you thinking when I said that. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as going outside the cave.

Inspector Ivanovna: Silly foreigner! That's not how it works around here. Let's go.

Scene: And so Robert is sent off to be executed for reading a book and among other things. The last thing we see is the camera zooming into the large eye.