“The snake, which was now less than three yards from me, lifted a quarter of its body, with a gentle flourish reared its head, fixed its round eyes on me and listened to the music without making the slightest movement. It might have been a carven snake in black stone, so still it was.”
R.K. Narayan. Malgudi Days (New York: Penguin Books, 2006). pg 77
The vivid descriptions of the snake bring it to life. The narrator is clearly terrified of this poisonous creature, but at the same time he is enraptured by its appearance and its response to his music. Narayan manages to capture both the danger of the animal and the beauty of it at the same time.
“This memory and the handkerchief that accompanied it had wrought in Guido (as certain flowers brought to a pitch of florid ecstasy no sooner attain their specific type than they fall into its decay) the sum total of what is the jew. He had walked, hot, incautious and damned, his eyelids quivering over the thick eyeballs, black with the pain of a participation that, four centuries later, made him a victim”
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. New York: Norton, 2006. pg 4
Throughout the course their has been a recurring theme of people being left behind by the forces of social progress. In The Heart of Darkness we see how social progress can be a danger to the people who society defines as primitive. In As I Lay Dying we see a divide between the more developed settlements and the underdeveloped rural areas and we see how this dived can be used to exploit people from the less developed area. In The Untouchable we see how even a force of positive social progress like Gandhi’s revolution can still leave people behind. In Their Eyes Were Watching God we see how little social progress does for the people that a society forgets. In Nightwood we see this as well.
“but think of the stories that do not amount much! That is, that are forgotten in spite of all man remembers (unless he remembers himself) merely because they befell him without distinction of office or title-that’s what we call legend and it’s the best a poor man may do with his fate; the other we call history”
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. New York: Norton, 2006. (17-18)
The main difference between legend and history is that history considered fact and legend is not. What the Felix is saying that in the eyes of the world a poor man will never be remembered no matter what he does.
“The Vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but janie didn’t know how to tell Nanny that.”
Zora Neale Hurston. Their Eyes Were Wathcing God. Chapter 2
Earlier in the chapter Janie described Nanny as a great tree. It is fascinating to see how the metaphor changes as Janie’s perception changes.
“I remained standing. Whenever anyone passed by I would place my head at their feet and ask them to tell the Hakim. But who would listen to a sweeper? Everyone was concerned about himself.”
Mulk Raj Anand. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 68.
The passage its self is vary strait forward, but it illustrates the societal apathy that allows repressive systems like the castes exist unchallenged.
“Richard merely thought it foolish of her to like excitement when she knew it was bad for her heart”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005) 108
In other points of the story their are sentences like this that directly describe the inner thoughts of a character. So out of context it would be reasonable to assume that this is supposed to be the inner thoughts of Richard. In context this statement is part of an internal debate where Clarissa is interpreting both her husband Richard and her former lover Pete’s opinions about her parties. In both cases Clarissa is convinced that both men look down on her for throwing these parties. We can infer that the reason the sentence is phrased like an internal monologue is that Clarissa is familiar enough with Richard to know (or at least think that she knows) how his mind works. It is possible that this is an accurate representation of Richard’s thoughts but it is also likely that Clarissa is projecting her own thoughts about her past times onto Richard and Pete.
“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.”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005) pg 17
It is interesting how the sentence in the parenthesizes directly draws the reader’s attention to Septimus’ issues by stating the opposite.
“The earth is round. Heaven is a sphere that surrounds it. Sink where you will.”
Toomer, Jean . “Rhobert.” Cane. New York: Liveright, 2011. 55. Print.
The structure of these three lines reminds me of a haiku. I do not know if that’s intentional or just convergent evolution.
“His life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, word and deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to reverberate radiantly in heaven: and at times his sense of such immediate repercussions was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion like pressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. (171)
In contrast to the passage I quoted earlier here Joyce compares something fantastic to something utterly mundane. Though the tone of the passage is on the surface positive the fact that Steven is not viewing it through the artistic lens that he views other things shows his growing disillusionment with faith.
“And the air in the corridor chilled him too. It queer and wettish. But soon the gas would be lit and in the burning it made a lite noise like a little song. All ways the same and when the fellows stooped talking in the playroom you could hear it.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Stephen sees the would through the medium of art. Even the smallest detail is translated into some form of expression in Stephen’s mind.
“Marcher said to himself that he ought to have rendered her some service-saved her from a capsized boat in the bay, or at least recovered her dressing-bag, filched from her cab, in the streets of Naples, by a lazzarone with a stiletto. Or it would have been nice if he could have been taken by fever, alone in his hotel, and she could have come to look after him.”
Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays(New York: Library of America, 1999).
This passage perfectly illustrates Marcher’s mind set about his life. It lacks the drama that he expected it to have.