When I was a boy, I had a baseball team of my own. We played on a vacant lot between Ninetieth and Ninety-second streets. I had a little menagerie of my own, some pigeons, guinea pigs, and so on. On Saturday mornings, I had to take my music lesson. Then the members of my team used to come see my menagerie.
Family is the one human institution we have no choice over. We get in simply by being born, and as a result we are involuntarily thrown together with a menagerie of strange and unlike people. Church calls for another step: to voluntarily choose to band together with a strange menagerie because of a common bond in Jesus Christ. I have found that such a community more resembles a family than any other human institution. Henri Nouwen once defined a community as 'a place where the person you least want to live with always lives.' His definition applies equally to the group that gathers each Thanksgiving and the group that congregates each Sunday morning. (p. 64-65, Church: Why Bother?)
We assured Phelan that we were more than happy to let him have you and your menagerie, ' Leo retorted. 'After that, he said he needed to think.' 'About what?' Beatrix demanded. 'What is there to think about? Why is it taking him so long to make a decision?' 'He's a man, dear, ' Amelia explained kindly. 'Sustained thinking is very difficult for them.
We assured Phelan that we were more than happy to let him have you and your menagerie," Leo retorted. "After that, he said he needed to think." "About what?" Beatrix demanded. "What is there to think about? Why is it taking him so long to make a decision?" "He's a man, dear," Amelia explained kindly. "Sustained thinking is very difficult for them.
Snorkel through our vibrant menagerie of fish and marine life, each one of which has been clearly tagged and labeled for your convenience. Do you think the jokers at Sandals would do that for you? We've stocked our ivory reef with disparate creatures from all over the world, creating a lavishly unbalanced ecosystem that you have to see to believe. Often the things that nature never intended are the most fun to look at.
I am over-run, jungled in my bed, I am infested with a menagerie of desires: my heart is eaten by a dove, a cat scrambles in the cave of my sex, hounds in my bed obey a whipmaster who cries nothing but havoc as the hours test my endurance with an accumulation of tortures. Who, if I cried, would hear me among the angelic orders?
The human imagination may be the most elastic thing in the universe, stretching to encompass the millions of dreams that in centuries of relectless struggle built modern civilization, to entertain the endless doubts that hamper every human enterprise, and to conceive the vast menagerie of boogeymen that trouble every human heart.
The process by which the idea for a play comes to me has always been something I really couldn't pinpoint. A play just seems to materialize; like an apparition, it gets clearer and clearer and clearer. It's very vague at first, as in the case of Streetcar, which came after Menagerie. I simply had the vision of a woman in her late youth. She was sitting in a chair all alone by a window with the moonlight streaming in on her desolate face, and she'd been stood up by the man she planned to marry.
Is enjoyment the goal of life? Were it so, it would be a tremendous mistake to become a man at all. What man can enjoy a meal with more gusto than the dog or the cat ? Go to a menagerie and see the [wild animals] tearing the flesh from the bone. Go back and become a bird! . . . What a mistake then to become a man! Vain have been my years - hundreds of years - of struggle only to become the man of sense-enjoyments.
What is the importance of human lives? Is it their continuing alive for so many years like animals in a menagerie? The value of a man cannot be judged by the number of diseases from which he escapes. The value of a man is in his human qualities: in his character, in his conscience, in the nobility and magnanimity, of his soul. Torturing animals to prolong human life has separated science from the most important thing that life has produced - the human conscience.
John Cowper Powys
Over the years, my church gave me passage into a menagerie of exotic words unknown in the South: "introit, " "offertory, " "liturgy, " "movable feast, " "the minor elevation, " "the lavabo, " "the apparition of Lourdes, " and hundreds more. Latin deposited the dark minerals of its rhythms on the shelves of my spoken language. You may find the harmonics of the Common of the Mass in every book I've ever written. Because I was raised Roman Catholic, I never feared taking any unchaperoned walks through the fields of language. Words lifted me up and filled me with pleasure.
Mr. Jamrach led me through the lobby and into the menagerie. The first was a parrot room, a fearsome screaming place of mad round eyes, crimson breasts that beat against bars, wings that flapped against their neighbours, blood red, royal blue, gypsy yellow, grass green. The birds were crammed along perches. Macaws hung upside down here and there, batting their white eyes, and small green parrots flittered above our heads in drifts. A hot of cockatoos looked down from on high over the shrill madness, high crested, creamy breasted. The screeching was like laughter in hell.
Nothing shows a greater contempt for individuality than the train. Modern civilization uses every possible means to develop individuality, and having done so, tries everything in its power to stamp it out. It allots a few square yards to each person, and tells them that they are free to lead their life as they please within that area. At the same time it erects railings around them, and threatens them with all sorts of dire consequences if they should dare to take but one step beyond their compass. It is only natural that the person who has freedom within the confines of their allocated plot, should desire to have freedom to do as they wish outside it too. Civilization's pitiable subjects are forever snapping and snarling at imprisoning bars, for they have been made as fierce as tigers by the gift of liberty, but have been thrown into a cage to preserve universal peace. This, however, is not a true peace. It is the peace of the tiger in a menagerie who lies glowering at those who have come to look at it.