Dick and Jane: Bulwer-Lytton and Hemingway


 Look, Jane, look.

See the dark.

I cannot see the dark, Dick.

I see the storm.

I see the night.

I see the dark and stormy night.

Run, Spot, run!

Run in the rain, Spot.

Funny Spot.

See the torrents.

See the rain.

The rain falls in torrents.

Look, Dick, look.

See the wind.

The wind is violent.

See the big word.

See the big wind.

Look! Puff can fly.

Bye, Puff, bye.

See the man.

The man is old.

The man can fish.

He is in a boat.

I can spell boat.

See me spell.


Where is Spot?

Where is Puff?

Where is Dick?

Where is Jane?

They are not in the boat.

The man is alone.

The boat is in the water.

See the boat float.

The man can count.

He can count the days.

He counts to 84.

Look at the fish!

Look! Look!

Where are the fish?

Ha, ha.

I made you look.

There are no fish.

The man has no fish.

23 thoughts on “Dick and Jane: Bulwer-Lytton and Hemingway

  1. I like your DIck and Jane ‘translations’ of Hemingway and Bulwer-Lytton. I am however ashamed to confess *hangs head* that I have never heard of Bulwer-Lyton so I am to google him.

  2. LOVE both of these so much. (I like the Hemingway one better? Only because it is more familiar.) These are gorgeous and simple and unexpected and fresh. And REALLY new. Love that. YS, you amaze me.

  3. made you look

    you always do – (cuz we’re never quite sure what we’re gonna find)
    we might find chocolates, or skiffs, or even how to practice our dying
    but the one thing we are NOT going to find, (at least not today), is fish

    p.s. I’m imagining holding a Dick and Jane book. I feel better already.

  4. Gah! Not The Old Man and the Sea! I was forced to read that in high school 25+ years ago. I absolutely hated it. And I usually enjoyed reading the classic stuff we had to read for class. But I hated The Old Man and the Sea. The entire story could have been written in less than three pages. Old man hasn’t caught a fish in a long time. He goes out to sea. He catches a really big fish. He has to fight off the sharks. He loses, returning home with nothing much more than a skeleton. And of course, there’s some stuff in there about some boy and talk about baseball and whatnot. But…groan…I’ve been told Hemingway’s other stuff is brilliant, but I’ve never been able to make myself read it, because I read that first. I’m afraid to read the other things!

    Your poem, btw, could have stood in for the synopsis of the book, no sweat. LOL!

    • Hemingway is not for everyone – all those short, simple sentences. It’s just a matter of taste, but I’ve always connected him to those early readers with tales of Dick and Jane. I’m sure he must have read them as a child.

  5. I read entierly too much Dick and Jane, alas, I was introduced to them After I was introduced to The Brownie Readers. I couldn’t wait to get on to something better.
    could you do a synopsis of Grapes of Wrath in Dick and Jane style? That was another book I couldn’t wait to put down. Crime and Punishment’s synopsis was already done by Poe, or I’d ask for that, but maybe you could do Edgar A. Poe in a Dick and Jane style 🙂

    • People have given me lots of possible texts. Thanks for your suggestions.

      I remember the thrill of being able to read and decipher the letters and punctuation. Dick and Jane were part of that, so I have a great fondness for them.

  6. Margie

    Excellent, excellent! I’m so glad to see that Dick and Jane have added the words torrent and violent to their vocabulary – and it is nice to see Puff do something other than, well nothing really. Puff’s character never was very well developed.

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