Attila

“Please lock him up in a room at night, otherwise he might call in a burglar and show him round.”

I found the irony in this snarky comment rather amusing. Not only is this dog being insulted for his friendly nature, but it is being suggested that they have lost all faith that he can help their household. Although Attila does not bark or attack the burglar, the end result is in his favor.

 

R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days. (New York: Penguin Books.) 2006. (99)

Their Eyes

“You know, honey, us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways. You in particular. Ah was born back due in slavery so it wasn’t for me to fulfill my dreams of whit a woman oughta be and to do. Dat’s one of de hold-backs of slavery. But nothing can’t stop you from wishin’. You can’t beat nobody down so low till you can rob em’ of they will. Ah didn’t want to be used for a work-ox and a brood-sow and Ah didn’t want mah daughter used dat way neither. It sho wasn’t mah will for things to happen lak they did. Ah even hated de way you was born. But, all de same Ah said thank God, Ah got another chance. nAh wanted to preach a great sermon about colored women sittin’ on high, but they wasn’t no pulpit for me. Freedom found me wid a baby daughter in mah arms, so Ah sad Ah’d take a broom and a cook-pot and throw up a highway through de wilderness for her. She would expound what Ah felt. But somehow she got lost offa de highway and next thing Ah knowed here you was in de world,” (15).

Interesting way to preach to a child. The type of life that generation expects women to abide by gives the newer generation nothing to stay rooted in and grow from– they grow and branch out as their own without building from their roots.

 

Untouchable

“He knew I was being abused. Not one of them spoke for me. The cruel crowd! All of them abused, abused, abused. Why are we always abused? The santry inspictor and the Sahib that day abused my father. They always abuse us” (98).

So innocent its almost infantile. Familiarizing himself with the sort of prejudice he is destined to face, while still refusing to accept the social consequences followed by who he is.

A Room of One’s Own

“To have lived a free life in London in the sixteenth century would have meant for a woman who was poet and playwright a nervous stress and dilemma which might well have killed her. Had she survived, whatever she had written would have been twisted and deformed, issuing from a strained and morbid imagination.”

Woolf essentially summarizes the chapter in this excerpt, explaining her thought progression on what it meant to be a woman in the sixteenth century. She explores a topic that was scarcely touched in her time, and explores the depths of troubles which these gifted women faced. In addition to her theory, she makes the claim that any woman who would survive these hardships would not bode well in the literary world. On another note, this excerpt particularly stuck with me because it made me realize that Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, particularly chapter 3, was a huge influence in the creation of my favorite novel: Max Barry’s Lexicon.

Dalloway Mind-read

“What business had the Bradshaws to talk of death at her party? A young man had killed himself. And they talked of it at her party– the Bradshaws, talked of death. He had killed himself– but how? Always her body went through it first, when she was told, suddenly, of an accident; her dress flamed, her body burnt. He had throw himself from a window. Up had flashed the ground; through him, blundering, bruising, went the rusty spikes. There he lay with a thud, thud, thud in his brain, and then suffocation of blackness. So she saw it. But why had he done it? And the Bradshaws talked of it at her party!” (184).

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

First and foremost, the fundamental layer between this paragraph and the audience is its narrator. From there, Mrs. Dalloway serves as a quasi-layer added to the mix, as most of the progression above stems from her own stream of consciousness. Furthermore, Mrs. Dalloway seems to even be questioning the motives of Septimus, the man who we understand is the suicidal man of the conversations of the party. Already, there are several layers at work of one person thinking and commenting on what another is thinking. The paragraph puts an emphasis on the effect of this tragedy on Mrs. Dalloway’s party, although there should be no correlation. Between the multiple filters on the narration, it remains ambiguous whether it is the narrator commenting on Mrs. Dalloway’s misfortune, or Mrs. Dalloway’s complaint of her misfortune (relatively speaking). The following questions purposed hold a similar effect– the man’s suicide is undermined in its negative association with the distraction of Mrs. Dalloway’s party. The consistent use of pronouns like “her” and “she” would make one think that the narrator is more omniscient. However, by repeatedly highlighting that death was being discussed at her party, it seems a more selfish and personal consciousness sort of comment to make. This therefore resurfaces the question– who is the narrator? The constant shift between direct, indirect, and free indirect discourse allows Woolf to transcend the limits of concrete, omniscient narration.

Dalloway

“To love makes one solitary, she thought. She could tell nobody, not even Septimus now, and looking back, she saw him sitting in his shabby overcoat alone, on the seat, hunched up, staring. And it was all cowardly for a man to say he would kill himself, but Septimus had fought; he was brave; he was not Septimus now. She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her. Nothing could make her happy without him! Nothing! He was selfish. So mean are. For he was not ill. Dr. Holmes said there was nothing the matter with him. She spread her hand before her. Look! Her wedding ring had slipped- she had grown so thin. It was she who suffered- but she had nobody to tell.”

 

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925. Print. P23

 

Shifting perspectives is one of the core ideas in Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf uses free indirect discourse to allow the emotions and thoughts of her characters seep through the seemingly omniscient narration. She creates and interesting intersection between two conflicting states of mind. Two people in an intimate relationship are in entirely different places toward one another. Lucrezia seems unable to empathize with or even sympathize Septimus’ condition, only able to recount on the effect it has on herself.

 

 

 

Cane

“My ears are caked with dust of oatfields at harvest-time. I am a deaf man who strains to hear the calls of other harvesters whose throats are also dry.

It would be good to hear their songs.. reapers of the sweet-stalk’d can, cutters of the corn.. even though their throats cracked and the strangeness of their voices deafened me.”

Toomer, Jean. “Kabnis.” Cane. New York: Liveright, 2011. 69. Print.

Wanting to hear others speak out, but overtaken by the exhaustion of its repetition. The tired voices who won’t be heard.

Portrait- analysis

“A restless feeling of guilt would always be present with him: he would confess and repent and be absolved, confess and repent again and be absolved again, fruitlessly. Perhaps that first hasty confession wrung from him by the fear of hell had not been good? Perhaps, concerned only for his imminent doom, he had not had sincere sorrow for his sin? But the surest sign that his confession had been good and that he had had sincere sorrow for his sin was, he knew, the amendment of his life.

– I have amended my life, have I not? he asked himself,” (129).

Stephen turns to religion in part to make sense of the world and silence his curiosities about life. In attempt to absolve his sins, when he should feel most cleansed and absolute, he finds himself ever-guilty, still curious, and encompassed in doubt. The absolution of sin, in theory, allows man to live on without these feelings hovering over them, but Stephen, doubtful at heart, cannot escape them. By the end of this passage, he comes to the conclusion (if only for a moment) that he has absolved his soon through the “amendment of his life,” (129). Immediately following this glimmer of affirmation is the self-inflicted doubt we’ve seen in him from the start: “have I not?”

The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“A restless feeling of guilt would always be present with him: he would confess and repent and be absolved, confess and repent again and be absolved again, fruitlessly. Perhaps that first hasty confession wrung from him by the fear of hell had not been good? Perhaps, concerned only for his imminent doom, he had not had sincere sorrow for his sin? But the surest sign that his confession had been good and that he had had sincere sorrow for his sin was, he knew, the amendment of his life.

– I have amended my life, have I not? he asked himself,” (129).

Through the doubtfulness in this passage, we see that Stephen, at heart, cannot live through life without questioning. Even religion can’t quiet his curiosities.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired with tears so that he could not see. But he though they were the portraits of the saints and great men of the order who were looking down on him silently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding open a book and pointing to the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam in it, saint Francis Xavier pointing to his chest, Lorenzo Ricci with his barretta on his head like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of holy youth, saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzaga and blessed John Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they were young, and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a big cloak,” (47).

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

 

Whenever a considerably important word in the title of a book is mentioned in the text, I’m tempted to dissect the relationship, should one exist. James deemed these portraits worthy of a 10-line-long observation. What particularly stuck with me at the end, was that in this single sentence, James referred not only to portraits, but to the young subjects of these paintings. I found this curious, especially in that the “young faces” in these portraits died young– it made me wonder why the portrait of the artist was of him as a young man. More specifically, is there an implication that a part of the artist died as a young man?

Heart Of Darkness

“No use telling you much about that. Paths, paths, everywhere; a stamped in network of paths spreading over the empty land, through long grass, through burns grass, through thickets, down and up chilly ravines, up and down stony hills ablaze with heat; and a solitude, a solitude, nobody, not a hut.”

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

For the first time (I believe), the narrator almost addresses his excessiveness. As the novel opened, the other men on the boat knew that they were about to hear about on of his “inconclusive experiences,” which sounds like they either have no point or have no end. He was almost staying “I know I’ve been explaining a lot, but it’s all necessary, I swear.” Now he says “It isn’t necessary to tell you about this part,” and yet in the same breath, he goes on about it. It almost reminds me of how James envelopes his work in excess to make us work to understand it.

Beast in the Jungle

Since it was in Time that he was to have met his fate, so it was in Time that his fate was to have acted; and as he waked up to the sense of no longer being young, which was was exactly the sense of being stale, just as that, in turn, was the sense of being weak, he waked up to another matter beside.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories and Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999), pg. 469

This selection really paints the feeling of becoming aware and coming to terms with one’s own insignificance.