“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 section of the passage draws attention to the narrators inability to proceed with the action she wants to do. It’s reminiscent of Untouchable where Bakha wishes to speak out in the crowd, but feels something inside holding him back. It connects to other characters as well when we consider that when a character is forbidden from doing something, it only makes them want too more. In Portrait, many of Stevens desires are kept within, because the religious upbringing he has makes him feel shame for having them. Eventually, this causes him to rebel and only pursue the actions more.
“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (30).
This passage made me think of the poem “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton. In both the woman is facing moments of accepting her life for what it is, and for what it means to be a woman. Janie is accepting that marriage does not mean love, but that it comes with being a woman and that she must accept this and embrace it. Much the same way the “women” in Sexton’s poem do.
“Lucezia Warren Smith, sitting by her husband’s side on a seat in Regent’s Park in the Broad Walk, looked up. ‘look, look, Septimus!’ she cried. For Dr. Holmes had told her to make her husband (who had nothing whatever seriously the matter with him but was a little out of sorts) take interest in things outside himself.”
Septimus is one of my favorite characters in this story, because while everyone elses issues seem to be on the outside, and mostly social in nature, his is truly a mental illness. His story line proves to be one of the least superficial, and it’s interesting to see the beginning of contrast between him and the other characters in this passage. The way his wife considers his condition, and goes about trying to fix it seems trivial and selfish, as the tone here almost makes it seem as though he is choosing to be this way, especially with the last few lines.
“He read the verses backwards but then they were not poetry. Then he read the flyleaf from the bottom to the top till he came to his own name. That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after the universe? Nothing.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
In this moment the character begins to feel overwhelmed by the deeper thoughts he is having. It’s the first time in the novel we as the reader get to see a deeper level of thought from the narrator. Before this point we’ve gotten child like descriptions and simple musings when he is confused by things happening to him and around him. It shows a moment of growth within the character, even though it’s still early in the story.
“Here and there a military camp lost in a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay-cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death,- death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bus. They must have been dying like flies here.”
Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002)
Conrad’s use of description words here sets a ominous and disturbing tone for the reader during this story that is being told. The way he lists them one after another gives them more emphasize and by repeating the word death he especially drives that theme home, creating a sense of foreboding.
“But the devil in this was that the very basis itself put marrying out of the question. His conviction, his apprehension, his obsession, in short wasn’t a privilege he could invite a woman to share; and that consequence of it was precisely what was the matter with him.”
Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays(New York: Library of America, 1999)
This passage seemed odd to me because he’s stating that he can’t burden a woman with the issues he deals with every day, and that’s why marriage isn’t in the cards for him. However, he does burden May with it as she already knows the secret. It seems like he’s making up excuses to be unhappy, or stressed.