Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

by Edgar Allen Poe, William Saroyan, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson

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Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby Liz » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:18 pm

The Time of Your Life

In the time of your life, live--so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live--so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.


Let’s discuss this JD favorite in relation to “Why I Write” and "The Parsley Garden".
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:28 pm

I have not been MIA this week, I just have have had little to add to the excellent answers that have been posted by everyone else. Great discussion! :cool: And I do like the story. Although I found myself thinking that it was just a story about every day life and was no big thing in the overall scheme of history. I guess in that way the Parsley Garden pointed out that "every man is a variation of yourself." I think Saroyan has a way of taking our common condition and our common experience and sharing it in a way that is uplifting and inspiring. The things he writes in this piece reflects the thoughts he had about "why I write", to the extent that we are all part of the same cloth and he seeks to write about the good in people.

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby Liz » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:24 pm

nebraska wrote:I have not been MIA this week, I just have have had little to add to the excellent answers that have been posted by everyone else. Great discussion! :cool:

I know what you mean, nebraska. There have been some great answers! :applause2: I had a very busy work week, and when I finally made it to the discussion each day, I had nothing to offer except to agree.

I agree with you here:


I guess in that way the Parsley Garden pointed out that "every man is a variation of yourself."


I think that Al had to work on learning that. I also think this line fits the story...

"Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior."

Al refused to be inferior to the men who worked at the hardware store.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby suec » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:10 pm

I think given the emphasis on the kindly heart, that applies to the two men in the store, who did not behave in a kindly way. "Despise evil and and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil". Al gets a taste of being despised. I don't think it's particularly easy to criticise the behaviour and not the person, but I do think they have to be separated and they are clearly not - as in the case of the man who looks at him with hatred and talks of hitting him with the hammer.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby trygirl » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:31 pm

I also believe Al's return, to work for the hammer, made a positive impact on the shop worker and Mr. Clemmer. "Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world." The younger man no longer wants to smash him and the boss ultimately offers him a job. And though he still harbors ill will for the men, they have changed their opinion. He gains respect.
I'm not a brand, I'm more of a variety. - Johnny Depp

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby gemini » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:50 pm

I agree with Nebraska and Liz, I did a lot of agreeing this week too. This post is not different.

I did sort of zero in on these lines when I thought of Al's theft.

Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption.

No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby ladylinn » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:37 pm

I too agree with what has been said before me. Had a difficult weekend dealing with "life issues" so this was very meaningful to me personally.
I like the quote "despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil" as seuc said. I think this pretty well sums up the meaning of the story that Saroyan wrote. In more simple terms - do the best you can, with what you have got and where you are!

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby deppaura » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:54 pm

This is late..sometimes the overwhelming posts in reply to the questions, plus their seeming resolution stymies me. I found The Parsley Garden to reflect the immigrant struggle. This young boy trying to assimilate in a new cullture, reacting, responding, struggling to find his place. Having his own genetic cultural baggage to deal with and apply to the new "world". The garden is a respite..but, maybe also a bit of the old country. A transition many of our forbears have endured. In the time of your life...rings a bit of Desiderata, age old words of wisdom.

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Re: Saroyan Week - The Time of Your Life

Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:57 pm

deppaura wrote:Having his own genetic cultural baggage to deal with and apply to the new "world". The garden is a respite..but, maybe also a bit of the old country. A transition many of our forbears have endured.

I can see that. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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