Nightwood

“This dream that now had all its parts had still the former quality of never really having been her grandmother’s room. She herself did not seem to be there in person, nor able to give an invitation. She had wanted to put her hands on something in this room to prove it; the dream had never permitted her to do so.”

Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 68.

This passage caught my attention because I believe it outlines the restriction inflicted upon the main character, which I believe to be prevalent in many of our readings. This internal conflict can be noted in Untouchable, where Bakha wants to announce to the Mahatma that he, an Untouchable, is there but in the end he does not pull through. This concept is outlined throughout the entirety of Heart of Darkness where Marcher is at a constant battle with his true feelings about life and about May. This trapped feeling is also seen in the characters of Cane, where they are surrounded by suffrage with no escape. I think that in many novels, there is a character succumbed by internal conflict and the feeling of being trapped, either in an environment or in one’s self. I believe that this aspect is important towards personal growth and development within a novel.

Their Eyes

“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013.

A sadistic approach to womanhood, that you become one once your dreams die. This could be applied to adulthood in general, when you stop imagining you become a grown-up.

Untouchable

He wanted to warm his flesh; he wanted the warmth to get behind the scales of the dry, powdery surface that had formed on his fingers; he wanted the blood in the blue veins that stood out on the back of his hand to melt. He turned his hands so as to show them to the sun. He lifted his face to the sun, open-eyed for a moment, then with the pupils of his eyes half closed, half open. And he lifted his chin upright. It was pleasing to him. It seemed to give him a thrill, a queer sensation which spread on the surface of his flesh where the tincture of warmth penetrated the numbed skin. He felt vigorous in this bracing atmosphere.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 25.

I enjoyed this passage because of the descriptiveness of the feeling of warmth. It is represented as almost a rejuvenation, where the warmth of the sun ignites power in one’s self.

Mrs. Dalloway

“But they beckoned; leaves were alive; trees were alive. And the leaves being connected by millions of fibres with his own body, there on the seat, fanned it up and down; when the branch stretched he, too, made that statement. The sparrows fluttering, rising, and falling in jagged fountains were part of the pattern; the white and blue, barred with black branches. Sounds made harmonies with premeditation; the spaces between them were as significant as the sounds. A child cried. Rightly far away a horn sounded. All taken together meant the birth of a new religion —”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

There is beauty in healing, a rare and simplistic beauty that is usually taken advantage of, and when it is regained it is almost a rebirth.

Cane

“There is a radiant beauty in the night that touches and…tortures me. Ugh. Hell. Get up, you damn fool. Look around. Whats beautiful there? Hog pens and chicken yards. Dirty red mud. Stinking outhouse. Whats beauty anyway but ugliness if it hurts you? God, he doesn’t exist, but nevertheless He is ugly. Hence, what comes from Him is ugly. Lynchers and business men, and that cockroach Hanby, especially. How come that he gets to be principal of a school? Of the school I’m driven to teach in? God’s handiwork, doubtless.”

Toomer, Jean. “Kabnis.” Cane. New York: Liveright, 2011. 114. Print.

Evil is not allowed to be beautiful. Dismissing faith and a higher power, blaming Him for the ugliness of the world.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“It was not thought nor vision though he knew vaguely that her figure was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then more sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt: a wild and languid smell: the tepid limbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret soft linen upon which her flesh distilled odour and dew” (196).

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Unrest seething into blood like an unstoppable force. Fighting desire by resistance.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“But Mr. Gleeson had round shiny cuffs and clean white wrists and fattish white hands and the nails of them were long and pointed. Perhaps he pared them too like Lady Boyle. But they were terribly long and pointed nails. So long and cruel they were though the white fattish hands were not cruel but gentle. And though he trembled with cold and fright to think of the cruel long nails and of the high whistling sound of the cane and of the chill you felt at the end of your shirt when you undressed yourself yet he felt a feeling of queer quiet pleasure inside him to think of the white fattish hands, clean and strong and gentle.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. p. 38.

The description of these hands transforms through the passage, as cruel but then later distinguished as gentle.

Heart of Darkness

“The idleness of a passenger, my isolation amongst all these men with whom I had no point of contact, the oily and languid sea, the uniform somberness of the coast, seemed to keep my away from the truth of things, within the toil of a mournful and senseless delusion. The voice of the surf heard now and then was a positive pleasure, like the speech of a brother. It was something natural, that had its reason, that had a meaning.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002)

The isolation of being on the sea creating a delusion over reality? In spite of it all, the ocean waves still offered a sense of calmness.

The Beast in the Jungle

“It was always open to him to accuse her of seeing him but as the most harmless of maniacs, and this, in the long run–since it covered so much ground–was his easiest description of their friendship. He had a screw loose for her, but she liked him in spite of it, and was practically, against the rest of the world, his kind, wise keeper, unremunerated, but fairly amused and, in the absence of other near ties, not disreputably occupied” (206).

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays(New York: Library of America, 1999).

Labeling a self-proclaimed maniac as harmless.