"Nothing matters." "From the moment you are born, you start to die." "The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. You'll live to be a maximum of one hundred. Life isn't worth the bother!" So says Pierre Anthon when he decides that there is no meaning to life, leaves the classroom, climbs a plum... read more
Pierre Anthon decides one day that nothing matters. Life is not worth living, so everyone might as well do nothing. He sits in a plum tree day after day, staring at the sky, and doing nothing. His classmates decide he must learn that things do matter in life. First they just try to get him... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Pierre Anthon decides one day that nothing matters. Life is not worth living, so everyone might as well do nothing. He sits in a plum tree day after day, staring at the sky, and doing nothing. His classmates decide he must learn that things do matter in life. First they just try to get him down from the tree by throwing rocks at him. He falls from the tree but is back up two days later, still screaming disparaging comments to them about life being meaningless.
The children then come up with a better idea. They will make a heap of meaning. Full of items that mean something to them. They go around asking people if they may have things that mean something. They go about this for awhile, before realizing that the items don't mean anything to them. They decide that a each person must contribute an item and then choose the next person and what they will give up.
Dennis goes first and must give up all his Dungeon and Dragon books which he has almost memorized he loves them so much. He is reluctant to give them but realizes if he wanted to give them up they wouldn't mean anything. Then, he makes Agnes give up her new green sandles that her mom had finally gotten for her. She again, does not want to give them up, but other kids in the class persuade her by telling her about the things they had given up before the system started for the sake of the heap.
Agnes is mad at Gerda for giving Dennis the idea so she pretends to become her friend. In that time, she learns that Gerda has a pet hamster named Oscarlittle. She makes Gerda leave Oscarlittle in the heap of meaning inside the sawmill. He is still in a cage so he is surviving fine. Gerda then makes Maiken give up her telescope, which she spent two years saving up for and that she uses every night to study the sky. Maiken has no trouble deciding the next person and makes Frederick give his Dannebrog.
Frederick is Danish and it is an honor to raise the Danish flag in his family. He steals the Dannebrog and makes the class sing the national anthem before giving it away. Frederick is very angry about his loss and demands 'lady William''s diary. William is resistant but then sacrifices it without they key after an obscure amount of yelling and hand waving. After he gives it up, he is very proud of its look and says the heap is now on a whole new PLATEAU.
The next day he demands Anna-Li's birth certificate. The whole group protests, saying that a birth certificate is different and cannot be sacrificed, but Anna-Li agrees and it is added to the pile. She then makes Little Ingrid give her new crutches, forcing her to use her old ones. Little Ingrid makes Henrik steal the snake in formaldehyde. His dad is the biology teacher and so when it is stolen right after their class, the whole class is given detention EXCEPT Henrik. Throughout this Pierre is still taunting the group.
Henrik then asks for something relitively easy-Otto's boxing gloves. Otto however asks for something huge-Elise's baby brother. Elise's brother had died after a long two years of sickness, while Elise was neglected by her parents. She was not sad about digging her brother up, she was upset about her parents finding out. They draw lots and it is decided that Jon-Johan (the leader of the group.), Otto, Elise, Richard, Agnes, and Holy Karl. Agnes had tried to get out of it by cheating but the way they drew made it impossible. She is scared out of her mind but is forced to go.
That night at the graveyard the boys dig while the girls are on lookout. After taking out the coffin. They realize they don't have enough dirt to fill the hole. So they steal two gravestones and put them in, then filling the hole. As they are leaving Cinderella, the dog that sits by her masters grave constantly, is following them. They try to shoo her but she follows all the way to the sawmill, where they leave her. She then guards little Emil's grave. The next day everyone in town is talking about the Vadelism and Agnes' mom is suspicious about the dirt on her bedroom floor.
Elise then claims Ursula-Marie's hair. It is blue and always in six braids. Elise and Hussain cut the braids off and Ursula-Marie then looks crazy. She is very mad at them for it, so she demands Hussain's prayer mat. He immediately starts crying but is forced to give it up. He leaves school for a week and comes back all bruised and with a broken arm. His father found his mat was missing so he cast Hussain out of their Muslim being and beat him up. Hussain makes Huge Hans give up his yellow bike.
Huge Hans does not want to do it but with much pressuring from Sofie he does. He is mad at Sofie so he demands her innocence. Something the group strongly disagrees with. Still that night, Huge Han's helps her lose it with the help of four boys including Jon-Johan. The next day there is a tissue with some blood on it on the heap. Sofie then chooses Holy Karl, who must steal Jesus from the church.
His father is the minister and Holy Karl feels terrible about the idea-only comforted by Jon-Johan telling him the Jesus forgives sinners. They draw lots again, and the next day they go to the church only to have Jesus burn one of them, and break both legs. The return to the sawmill to have Cinderella refusing to go by Jesus and then peeing on him. They conclude that this is because Jesus took Cinderella's owner from her. Gerda's hamster dies and she is very angry.
Holy Karl, mad at Cinderella for peeing on Jesus, demands that Pretty Rosa (who is afraid of blood), must cut Cinderella's head off. Elise is also very sad about this. The next day they come to the sawmill to find CInderella's head and body on the heap. Pretty Rosa walks into the room and faints. The next day Pretty Rosa demands Jon-Johan's right index finger. Jon-Johan loves playing guitar and singing Beatles-he sounds like the real thing! So everyone is very surprised when SOfie immediately volunteers to cut the finger off. It is then when Agnes realizes who really cut off Cinderella's head.
Jon-Johan is crying everyday, pleading to them not to make him give up his finger. But one day the boys tackle him, force his hand open, as Sofie mercilessly chops off his finger. Holy Karl runs him home saying that it was an accident as Jon-Johan had dropped the knife while trying to pull it from a post. The next day they realize Jon-Johan told his parents the truth. They are all severely punished before the media gets to them. Soon they are on TV and the news is nationwide. They had just sold the heap to a museum for 3.6. million dollars when they all start fighting. Each going at the person who made them give up something. Agnes runs to tell Pierre and he comes to where they all are. They are shocked to see him there because he was refusing to come before.
After he mocks them for selling the meaning and telling them it was no use because he didn't care, they all beat him up. They leave him lying on the sawmill floor in critical condition with many broken bones. The next day they learned the sawmill had burnt down and the police had just discovered Pierre's body inside. They conclude he had set fire to the heap because he did not want to admit they were right, and he hadn't been quick enough to escape the flames.
They are all very sad and attend his funeral. The book ends with saying that the kids never spoke to each other again, they all went to different schools, Sofie ended up in an asylum for still screaming about the meaning after it had ended, and that they never wanted to see each other. However they had found the meaning, and that was what mattered.
better to be sitting in nothing than in something that isn’t anything!”Highlighted by 8 Kindle customers
“The reason dying is so easy is because death has no meaning,” he hollered. “And the reason death has no meaning is because life has no meaning. All the same, have fun!”Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
“If you live to be eighty, you’ll have slept thirty years away, gone to school and sat with homework for nine, and worked for almost fourteen. Since you’ve already spent more than six years being little kids and playing, and you’re later going to be spending at least twelve cleaning house, cooking food, and looking after your own kids, it means you’ve got nine years at most to live.”Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
“And you want to spend those nine years pretending you’ve amounted to something in a masquerade that means nothing, when instead you could start enjoying your nine years right away.”Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
The most important thing, in any circumstance, was to amount to something that really looked like it was something.Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
“What smells is decay. But when something starts decaying, it’s on its way to becoming a part of something new. And the new that’s created smells good. So it makes no difference whether something smells good or bad, it’s all just a part of life’s eternal round dance.”Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
“If something’s worth getting upset about, then there must be something worth getting happy about. And if something’s worth getting happy about, then there must be something that matters. But there isn’t!”Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
“It’s all a waste of time,” he yelled one day. “Everything begins only to end. The moment you were born you began to die. That’s how it is with everything.”Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
Pierre Anthon maybe had ahold of something: that the meaning was relative and therefore without meaning.Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
Nothing matters. I have known that for a long time. So nothing is worth doing. I just realized that.Highlighted by 3 Kindle customers
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