Do you know good writing?
A lot of people think they can open a book, read a sentence or two, and know whether the book is good or bad.
If you're that astute, then you should have no trouble identifying which of the following three excerpts are from a classic 20th century novel.
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Excerpt #1: Her past had been like her present-- intolerable-- and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used the little energy left her for pondering color.
"Bring a little lavender in if you got any. Pink if you don't."
Winter in Ohio was especially rough if you had an appetite for color. Sky provided the only drama, and counting on a Cincinnati horizon for life's principal joy was reckless indeed. So Sethe and the girl Denver did what they could, and what the house permitted, for her. Together they waged a perfunctory battle against the outrageous behavior of that place; against turned-over slop jars, smacks on the behind, and gusts of sour air. For they understood the source of the outrage as well as they knew the source of light.
Excerpt #2: I had been angry with God for the longest time, ever since George had died, followed by Sadie's stillborn baby, and finally, Sadie and the girls leaving our farm to go to Virginia.
I told myself I understood why Sadie felt she had to leave us, but oh, how I hated it. Hated it more than the vicious group of Red Shirts who were the cause of her departure, more than George's death, more even than the memory of his and Sadie's tiny stillborn baby-- a baby I couldn't save.
And I hated God most of all for letting it happen.
Excerpt #3: Moving across the room, Diana stared into the fireplace, still unable to calm the tangle of her thoughts. How could this be happening? Tyson Applegate was supposed to be dead. Missing on the battlefields of Cuba, his body never found. The court was scheduled to declare his death a fact tomorrow morning. But now, on the eve of her expected freedom from the husband who'd abandoned her, he'd returned.
Very much alive.
Not injured. Not frail. Not sickly.
She turned around. "You... you're supposed to be dead." The words came out a whisper-- and she hated herself for sounding weak.
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