Futility

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Futility

See also Despair, Frustration.
American Scene, The
portrays Americans as having secured necessities; now looking for amenities. [Am. Lit.: The American Scene]
Babio
performs the useless and supererogatory. [Fr. Folklore: Walsh Classical, 42]
Bellamy, James
character who goes through phases “playboy, war hero” to suicide. [Br. TV: Upstairs, Downstairs]
Canute
king of England demonstrated the limits of his power by commanding waves to stand still in vain. [Eng. Legend: Benét, 165]
Danaides
fifty daughters, forty-nine of whom are condemned to Hades to collect water in sieves. [Rom. Myth.: LLEI, I: 326]
Fall, The
tale of the monotonous life and indifference of modern man. [Fr. Lit.: The Fall]
Grandet, Eugénie
lacking everything but wealth, she is indifferent to life. [Fr. Lit.: Eugenie Grandet, Magill I, 258–260]
Henry, Frederic
loses lover and child; nothing left. [Am. Lit.: A Farewell to Arms]
Moreau, Frederic
law student whose amatory attachments all come to nothing, concludes that existence is futile. [Fr. Lit.: Flaubert A Sentimental Education in Magill I, 876]
“Necklace, The”
having lost a borrowed diamond necklace, M. and Mme. Loisel suffer ten years of privation to purchase a duplicate, then find that the original was paste. [Fr. Lit.: Maupassant “The Necklace”]
Ocnus,
the cord of eaten by ass as quickly as it is made. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 767]
Of Mice and Men
story of George Milton and Lennie Small’s futile dream of having their own farm. [Am. Lit.: Of Mice and Men]
Partington, Dame
tried to turn back tide with mop. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 807]
pearls before swine
Jesus adjures one not to waste best efforts. [N.T.: Matthew 7:6]
Sun Also Rises, The
story of American expatriates living a futile existence in Europe. [Am. Lit.: The Sun Also Rises]
Tobacco Road
tale of Jeeter Lester and other oppressed, degraded lives. [Am. Lit.: Tobacco Road]
Tregeagle
condemned to bail out Dozmary Pool with leaky shell. [Br. Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 1099]
References in classic literature ?
The last light seemed to fade from the lawn, and the poplars against the sunset were like great plumes upon a purple hearse, when the futile procession finally curved round,and came out in front of the target.
He wished that he might ask the girl, and then it came to him that she had already answered him in the futile struggle she had made to escape and to repulse him.
Not I," replied Carthoris, "though I know how futile our best defence must be against these mighty brutes
I began to employ in my own work the archaic words that I fancied most, which was futile and foolish enough, and I formed a preference for the simpler Anglo-Saxon woof of our speech, which was not so bad.
Girls can't really play cricket, and when you are watching their futile efforts you make funny sounds at them.
All its efforts to rid itself of the tiger seemed futile, until in desperation it threw itself upon the ground, rolling over and over.
After several days of futile endeavor to raise Pellucidar, we had be-gun to despair.
The finality in his tone seemed to assure Lady Greystoke that further argument was futile, and so she abandoned the subject.
Amid renewed growling and another futile attempt to free himself, Numa was finally forced to submit to the further indignity of having a rope secured about his neck; but this time it was no noose that might tighten and strangle him; but a bowline knot, which does not tighten or slip under strain.
A futile shot would but tend more greatly to enrage the one it chanced to hit; and then the three would drag down the little human figure and tear it to pieces.
His great advantage lay in his superior intelligence, but even this seemed futile in the face of the enormous weight of numbers that opposed him.
It seemed to them such a futile thing for Tippet to do, and Tippet of all men