Malgudi Days

“This is my child. I planted it. I saw it grow. I loved it. Don’t cut it down…”

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

This is a very touching quote from Velan because I think it really puts his emotions into perspective for the reader. In my opinion, the short/choppy sentences create emphasis and cause us to sympathize.

Nightwood/Historical Line

“Robin was outside the ‘human type’—a wild thing caught in a woman’s skin, monstrously alone, monstrously vain”

Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 155.

One of the biggest themes explored in not only Nightwood, but also The Beast in the Jungle, Cane, and Untouchable is being “outside” of the norm when it comes to identity. Marcher is not like anyone else when it comes to love. He does not show it, understand it, or really ever feel it. In the end, he is forced to question his life and identity. In Cane, the story of Bona and Paul focuses on the same idea of identity where Paul is extremely confused with who he is and ultimately loses Bona. This is where we see a fragmentation of identity. Untouchable creates a separation in society due to identity because they were seen as outsiders, as “outside the ‘human type'” as this quote from Nightwood states.

Their Eyes Were Watching God.

“All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped.”

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006).

This is something that I have always questioned. Why does God give us, some more than others, such severe hardships, yet we worship them. At that point, are we worshiping them for ourselves or out of fear?

Untouchable

“Both Ram Charan and Chota were surprised. Never before had they seen Bakha behave like that. Ram Charan was admitted to be of the higher caste among them, because he was a washerman.”

Mulk Raj Anand. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 83.

This excerpt has a lot of choppy and easy-to-understand sentences which I feel is a description applicable to the entire book. It is not too hard to analyze.

Mrs. Dalloway Mind-Read

“She felt very like him- the young man who had killed himself. She felt glad that he had done it; Thrown it away.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt Inc, 1925. Print. 182

This line from Mrs. Dalloway is ironic with the title of the assignment itself, “mindread”, because it is as if she can or had actually read Septimus’ mind. Clarissa put herself in Septimus’ shoes before he died and therefore knew his mindset and feelings. Not only that, but Clarissa could also relate to Septimus because she felt similar emotions. However, this idea of feeling what he felt ultimately desensitizes the death of Septimus and what he went through because at the end of the day, it is all subjective. There is no way she actually read his mind, but it is made to seem that way- that the feelings are shared.

Mrs. Dalloway

“As a cloud crosses the sun, silence falls on London; and falls on the mind. Effort ceases. Time flaps on the mast. There we stop; there we stand. Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame. Where there is nothing, Peter Walsh said to himself; feeling hollowed out, utterly empty within. Clarissa refused me, he thought. He stood there thinking, Clarissa refused me.”

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005), 49.

There’s excellent imagery in this excerpt that emphasizes Peter Walsh’s thoughts. The cloud crossing the sun is a huge metaphor for the way that he is feeling because Clarissa refused him. He feels “hollowed out” and “empty”.

Cane

“And all the while the Gardens were purple like a bed of roses would be at dusk. I came back to tell you, brother, that white faces are petals of roses. That dark faces are petals of dusk. That I am going out and gather petals. That I am going out and know her whom I brought here with me to these Gardens which are purple like a bed of roses would be at dusk.”

Toomer, Jean. “Bona and Paul.” Cane. New York: Liveright, 2011. 107. Print.

In this excerpt, the Gardens stand out to me as a religious aspect. I also really like the repetition and emphasis on “the Gardens were purple like a bed of roses would be at dusk.”

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“In a college like this, he said at length, there is one boy or perhaps two or three boys whom God calls to the religious life. Such a boy is marked off from his companions by his piety, by the good example he shows to others. He is looked up to by them; he is chosen perhaps as perfect by his fellow sodalists. And you, Stephen, have been such a boy in this college, prefect of Our Blessed Lady’s sodality. Perhaps you are the boy in this college whom God designs to call to Himself”.

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

Stephen feels proud of himself for receiving this honor and there is amazing imagery in this part of the novel that depicts what is going on in his mind and his idea of being a priest of God.

Heart of Darkness

“The horror! The horror!”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002), 178.

In reference to the horrors that Kurtz experienced in Africa. This one quote encompasses the entire plot and in a sense makes the reader realize the same truth about life that Kurtz has.

The Beast in the Jungle

“He saw the Jungle of his life and saw the lurking Beast; then, while he looked, perceived it, as by a stir of the air, rise, huge ad hideous, for the leap that was to settle him”.

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

This was the perfect ending to this short-story because it tied together the entire plot and the title- everything made sense.