Malgudi Days: “Atilla”

“It was as well that Attila had no powers of speech. Otherwise he would have burst into a lamentation which could have shattered the pedestal under his feet.”

The irony of the incorrect assumption that Attila has captured the burglar for the protection of the family is only made possible through an indirect discourse I have never quite seen (through an animal) like, “Atilla’s greatest ambition in life was to wander in the streets freely”(100). The “powers of speech” the dog does not possess are made possible through this indirect speech that focalizes a dog, with a great humorous effect.

Narayan, R. K. “”Attila”” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006. 101. Print.

 

“She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over” (72).

Image shattered…absence of image, Jody demoted to an “it;” literally “objectifies;” turns him into object rather than herself.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.

 

British Obsession in Untouchable

“Now that he had been to the British barracks and known that the English didn’t like jewellry, he was full of disgust for the florid, minutely studded designs of the native ornaments. So he walked along without noticing the big ear-rings and nose-rings and hair-flowers and other gold-plated ornaments which shone out from the background of green paper against which the smiths had ingeniously set them” (45).

Repudiation of upper-caste fashion through idealizing/desire to emulate imperialists’ fashion; Bakha’s admiration for the rulers–British– of his rulers–elite castes. Bitterness toward (his) oppressor manifests through appreciation of the Ultimate Oppressor–a bit ironic.

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London, England: Penguin, 1986. Print.

 

As I Lay Dying-Darl’s Stream

“It turns off at right angles, the wheel-marks of last Sunday healed away now: a smooth red scoriation curving away into the pines; a white signboard with faded lettering…It wheels up like a motionless hand lifted lifted above the ocean; beyond it the red road lies like a spoke of which Addie Bundren is the rim” (108).

Still exploring why Darl, specifically, is the character Faulkner designated as the one with linguistic superiority: vocabulary, similes, and syntactical complexity via colons and semi-colons. I’m still not convinced (why is he so disproportionately articulate relative to everyone else? That is, he comes from the same impoverished environment/background; his descriptive language seems improbable.)

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage, 1990. Print.

Clarissa Mind-Read of Peter

“They thought, or Peter at any rate thought, that she enjoyed imposing herself; liked to have famous people about her; great names; was simply a snob in short” (121).

    Clarissa speculates on everyone’s thoughts about her, but she becomes aware that she is estimating simply Peter’s, evident as she (focalized) notes this in the very next clause. The indistinct “they,” immediately clarified to mean Peter only, demonstrates that Peter alone is the metric for Clarissa’s sense of scrutiny from everyone in her immediate circle. In other words, Peter is the “they.” Most people are concerned with their reputation or how they come off to people, but the “they” a person senses scrutiny/judgement from is merely a faceless, general group of people. So, it becomes clear that Peter’s judgements of Clarissa are the ones she is concerned with the most, if not the only ones she is genuinely concerned with. The use of semi-colons as a way of listing, very succinctly and determinately, her perspective on what (Peter) thinks of her, shows that she has thought this out before; she has made a very definitive idea of exactly what Peter thinks about her. Clarissa goes on to state a value judgement Richard makes of her: “Richard merely thought it foolish of her to like excitement when she knew it was bad for her heart” (121). But this would be a more clinical, impersonal judgement on Richard’s part that Clarissa doesn’t seem concerned with. It’s stated as a perfunctory afterthought she doesn’t seem too worried about.

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

 

Mrs. Dalloway

“…she did undoubtedly then feel what men felt. Only for a moment; but it was enough. It was a sudden revelation, a tinge like a blush which one tried to check and then, as it spread, one yielded to its expansion, and rushed to the the farthest verge and there quivered and felt the world come closer, swollen with some astonishing significance, some pressure of rapture, which split its thin skin and gushed and poured with an extraordinary alleviation over the cracks and sores” (32). 

Relationship with Sally a protest against the mundanity of Clarissa’s housewife subordination. Description sounds like conscious attempt to repress her homosexual thoughts; then, possible acceptance.

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

Cane: “Box Seat”

“Through the cement floor her strong roots sink down. They spread under the asphalt streets. Dreaming, the streets roll over on their bellies, and suck their glossy health from them. Her strong roots sink down and spread under the river and disappear in blood-lines that waver south…The eyes of the woman don’t belong to her. They look at him unpleasantly” (85).

Using personification to animate body parts, in turn (ironically?) dehumanizing the referent of this description, that is, this specific black woman Dan sees in the audience. 

Toomer, Jean.”Box Seat.” Cane. New York: Liveright. 2011. 85. Print.

 

Commonplace 10/3

“His heart trembled in an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight. His soul was soaring in an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified in a breath and delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with the element of the spirit. An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs”

Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Dover, 1994. 121.

Rare exaltation of spirit. Repetition of words is salient here.

 

 

Portrait

“There remained no trace of the tram itself nor of the trammen nor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly. The verses told only of the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden lustre of the moon. Some undefined sorrow was hidden in the hearts of the protagonists as they stood in silence beneath the leafless trees…having hidden his book, he went into his mother’s bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of her dressing table.”

Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Dover, 1994. 49.

Stephen tries to recreate the scene with Ellen, but cannot evoke an image of himself: he sees himself as a “protagonist,” –a character– which is fitting since he is writing a poem and technically the protagonist. But since he has struggled with the writing process and cannot picture himself, it suggests he may see himself as a protagonist in his own life, that is, an unidentifiable being. There is some sort of dissociative break with the self as he struggles through adolescence. Hence the long staring at himself in the mirror, perhaps to reassure himself of a rooted, singular identity. Begs the question, why?

Heart of Darkness

“Then he tried to imagine himself dead, and Carlier sitting in his chair watching him; and his attempt met with such unexpected success, that in a very few moments he became not at all sure of who was dead and who was alive. This extraordinary achievement of fancy startled him, however, and by a clever and timely effort of mind he saved himself just in time from becoming Carlier.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002). 24.

Kayerts’ sense of confusion over who is dead and who isn’t anticipates his own death by suicide on the next page. Does Kayerts paradoxically save himself from “becoming” Carlier (now dead) by killing himself (dead)? By doing so, does he wash his hands of his complicity in the imperialistic process?

 

Commonplace–James

It wouldn’t have been failure to be bankrupt, dishonoured, pilloried, hanged; it was failure not to be anything. And so, in the dark valley into which his path had taken its unlooked-for twist, he wondered not a little as he groped. He didn’t care what awful crash might overtake him, with what ignominy or what monstrosity he might yet be associated–since he wasn’t, after all, too utterly old to suffer–if it would only be decently proportionate to the posture he had kept, all his life, in the promised presence of it. He had but one desire left–that he shouldn’t be “sold.”

How might Marcher feel that he as it risk for being “sold?” Why the reliance on May to help him through his suffering?; he seems selfish in his own suffering

Henry James. “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories and Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999), 470.