“Please allow me to introduce myself.”

Conundrums to Guess

The challenge is to identify from what books we pulled these selections as well as the name of the character being introduced. In most examples, this is our first glimpse of the character. For one, it is an eerie foreshadowing that gives us a glimpse of what the character will do through his action. One selection is the character describing himself at a job interview. Two passages have been altered to eliminate character names. You think we want to make this easy?

  1. His left leg was cut off close by the hip and under the left shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham – plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling. Hint: Think of famous characters who used a crutch. Would it help to imagine a parrot on his shoulder?
  2. She got a long pointed nose and a big fleshy mouth. Lips look like black plum. Eyes big, glossy. Feverish. And mean. Like, sick as she is, if a snake cross her path, she kill it. Hint: This Pulitzer Prize winning novel is written in dialect-heavy “letters” to God and to the narrator’s sister. The character she describes here is her husband’s lover.
  3. “I USHERED SOULS INTO THE NEXT WORLD. I WAS THE GRAVE OF ALL HOPE. I WAS THE ULTIMATE REALITY. I WAS THE ASSASSIN AGAINST WHOM NO LOCK WOULD HOLD.” (followed by: “Yes, but do you have any particular skills.”) Hint: This science fiction/fantasy character always speaks in all capital letters. He is a recurring character in the author’s Discworld Series.
  4. His face was strong – a very strong – aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere… The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy mustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. Hint: In the many film incarnations, this suave Eurpoean character never wears a mustache, although the teeth always fit this description.
  5. We crowded round and over Miss __’s head I had a peep at a dirty, ragged, black-haired child, big enough both to walk and talk – indeed its face looked older than __’s – yet, when it was set on its feet, it only stared round, and repeated over and over again some gibberish that nobody could understand. Hint: The name omitted from this Victorian romance’s passage is Catherine. A good name to yell across the moors.
  6. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She started all that. She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it wit that wool jersey. Hint: This character is the epitome of the Lost Generation. The novel has been mentioned in at least one “Absolute Blank” article.
  7. In other words he was a carbon-based bipedal life form descended from an ape. More specifically he was forty, fat and shabby and worked for the local council. Curiously enough though he didn’t know it, he was a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, though intervening generations and racial mixing had so juggled his genes that he had no discernable Mongoloid characteristics, and the only vestiges left in (him) of his mighty ancestry were a pronounced stoutness about the turn and a predilection for little fur hats. Hint: Perhaps the best known science fiction/fantasy novel, it tells us the meaning of life, which is “42”.
  8. But for all the modesty of her spreading skirts, the demureness of hair netted smoothly into a chignon and the quietness of small white hands folded into her lap, her true self was poorly concealed. The green eyes in her sweet face were turbulent, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanor. Her manner had been imposed on her by her mother’s gentle admonitions and the sterner discipline of her mammy; her eyes were her own. Hint: This was the best selling book of the Depression era and its Southern heroine, described here, was captured brilliantly on film… by an Englishwoman.
  9. Slowly he took off his jacket and untied his tie, watching every move he made as if it were somebody else’s movements he were watching. Astonishing how much straighter he was standing now, what a different look there was on his face. It was one of the few times in his life that he felt pleased with himself. Hint: This character takes over the life of Dickie Greenleaf and gets away with murder. Matt Damon fans might guess this one easily.
  10. The boy had a sharp, delicate face the color of ivory and he seemed to have eyes too big for it. He had also a lot of hair which tumbled over his forehead in heavy locks and made his face seem smaller. He looked like a boy who had been ill, but he was crying more as if he were tired and cross than as if he were in pain. Hint: This boy rediscovers the joy of life, aided by his cousin Mary, some friends and a “magical” place. This is another book adapted for the movies and for the stage, both as a play and a musical.

Answers after the jump.

Answers to “Please allow me to introduce myself”

  1. Long John Silver in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  2. Shug Avery in The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  3. DEATH in Mort by Terry Pratchett
  4. Count Dracula in Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  6. Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  7. Mr. L. Prosser in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  8. Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  9. Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
  10. Colin Craven in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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