Graffiti in books

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Graffiti in books

Postby FrodosLostFinger » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:53 pm

Once upon a time I was registered as "Smaug" and had a thousand + posts. So...you know...just to let everyone know that I'm not some newbie who breezed in to waste your time. But I can't get into my old account.

Um...anyhoo.

I teach high school English and I'm decorating my room for the new year and I thought it would be cool to paint on the walls graffiti from books. For example, in the 7th Harry Potter book, Neville Longbottom paints "Dumbledore's Army: Still Recruiting" on a wall. In the graphic novel, Watchmen, graffiti saying, "Who Watches the Watchmen" appears often.

I was just wondering if anyone could offer any suggestions of other times in books where graffiti shows up like that - appropriate things of course (Catcher in the Rye has graffiti but it's obscene).

Any help would be appreciated.

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Postby TS » Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:26 pm

Let's see:

In Animal Farm, we have the written commandment posted around the farm:

"ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS"

We have "Cave canis" from wall paintings and mosaics in Pompeii -- that's not really literature, but literate.

And, um, I guess we also have the writing on the wall from the book of Daniel...

And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE (lit. a "toll"), God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL (lit. a "weight"), you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PARSIN (lit. a "division"), your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Not exactly the most uplifting words to put on your walls, but more as I think of them.
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Postby MithLuin » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:38 pm

I think there is an inscription carved on the prison wall in Count of Monte Cristo, but it's just a detail, not carved by the main character. The movie made a big deal of it, so I might be imagining it altogether. It's been a few years, and I can't recall what it said. Something about God being his witness, I think.

If you were counting movies, there is an inscription in Kingdom of Heaven as well :)

Not exactly graffiti, but "Under Me" in The Silver Chair is the last remnant of a giant inscription that said something about all the world being under the ruler.

(Similar to Percy Shelley's "Ozymandias:" My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! )


Of course, you have to include "Frodo Lives!" :P (The orcs leave grafitti at the Crossroads, but Tolkien does not deign to translate it for us.)
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Postby GoodSam » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:51 pm

How about, "Who is John Gault?" from Atlas Shrugged.
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Postby Gungnir » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:45 am

TS wrote:We have "Cave canis" from wall paintings and mosaics in Pompeii -- that's not really literature, but literate.


Not wanting to be a nitpicker (yeah, right ;)) but I believe the correct latin phrase is "Cave canem" (Beware of the dog)
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Postby MithLuin » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:29 pm

There is lots of graffiti in the HP books - also from book 7, the messages at Godric's Hollow.

But in Chamber of Secrets, Ginny's messages include "Enemies of the Heir, Beware," and "Her body will lie in the Chamber forever" (or something like that) - both painted in red.
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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:53 am

What about "Kilroy was here"? It was used during WWII by an inspector, but appears in Asimov's "The Message" and in other works as well (Including Calvin and Hobbes :D)
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