Untouchable

“For though he considered them his inferiors since he came back with sharpened wits from the British barracks, he still recognised them as his neighbors, the intimates with whose lives, whose thoughts, whose feelings he had to make a compromise. He didn’t expect them to be formal. And as he stood for a while among them, he became a part of a strange, brooding, mysterious crowd that was seeking the warmth of the sun. One didn’t need to employ a courtesy, a greeting to become part of this gathering as one does in the word where there is plenty of light and happiness. For in the lives of this riff-raff, this scum of the earth, these dregs of humanity, only silence, grim silence of death fighting for life prevailed.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 36.

Bakha’s exposure to the Tommies as a sweeper of their barracks is enough for Bakha to view himself as superior to his neighbors. There is a noticeable hierarchy within this lower class. Bakha’s view, however, seems contradictory: while he is superior to his neighbors, he is also part of them. Through shared experience, all basking in the warmth of the sun on one level and all experiencing “the lives of the riff-raff, this scum of the earth, these dregs of humanity” on another level, Bakha was equal to them. 

Untouchables

“He had begged one Tommy for the gift of a pair of trousers. The man had given him a pair of breeches which he had to spare.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London, England: Penguin, 1986. Print. 11.

Earlier in the paragraph Bakha had gone on about how he admired British clothing, despite its lack of warmth, that style was more important, even being mocked by his father for it. It shows he is embracing the change in India’s culture, unlike his father. This act of mimicking western style of clothing was done all over the world, but specifically it is with the military that Bakha is doing this with. I can attest through other individuals that this act of exchanging military gear and clothing is still done today, in fact it is often the highlight of joint training events with other nations.

Untouchable

“‘No tea, no piece of bread, and I am dying of hunger!…’ Then he frowned in the gruff manner of a man who was really good and kind at heart, but who knew he was weak and infirm and so bullied his children, to preserve his authority, lest he should be repudiated by them, refused and rejected as the difficult old rubbish he was.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 31.

This moment of insight by Sohini of her father seems to be something of forgiveness for his abusive nature. She is almost describing the expectation of abuse because of his “really good and kind heart” but to “preserve his authority” it was normal.

Untouchable

“How absurd, he thought, that was, since most of the Hindu children touched him willingly at hockey and wouldn’t mind having him at school with them.”

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

When little kids have a better grasp on reality than adults.  The caste system is a made up human construct that doesn’t mean anything and is an outdated made up system.

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.

 

Untouchable

“He felt abashed at being seen absorbed in talking to himself. They always made a butt of him, ridiculing the weight of his body, the shape of his clothes, his gait, which was a bit like an elephant’s, on account of his heavy, swaying buttocks, and a bit like a tiger’s, lithe and supple.”

As the page continues, expressions of bullying are displayed. As I read this section, I made a comparison with the tone through out the story. There are a lot of negative descriptions in this novel, which makes tone somewhat dark.

Mulk Raj Anand. Untouchable. (New York: Penguin Books, 1940). 34.

Untouchable

“Luckily for the crowd of outcastes, however, there was another man coming a little way behind, no less a person than Pundit Kali Nath, one of the priests in charge of the temple in the town.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. Penguin Books: London, 1935. Print.

This quote stood out to me mainly because of the double play of the word “outcaste” here and throughout the novel referring to being outcasts of society as well as being on the outside of India’s caste system.

Untouchable

“Please don’t abuse me,” the girl said, “I haven’t said anything to you.”

“You annoy me with your silence, you illegally begotten! You eater of dung and drinker of urine! You bitch of a sweeper woman! I will show you how to insult one old enough to be your mother.” And she rose with upraised arm and rushed at Sohini.

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 25.

The language here is interesting because it isn’t the way one would typically speak in English. Sohini speaks English as if it is not their first language: simply and formally.  Gulabo’s angry rant is also derogatory but formal to an extent. This might reflect the time period of post-colonialism or it could also reflect their class system as lowly untouchables or Dalit.

Untouchable

He wanted to warm his flesh; he wanted the warmth to get behind the scales of the dry, powdery surface that had formed on his fingers; he wanted the blood in the blue veins that stood out on the back of his hand to melt. He turned his hands so as to show them to the sun. He lifted his face to the sun, open-eyed for a moment, then with the pupils of his eyes half closed, half open. And he lifted his chin upright. It was pleasing to him. It seemed to give him a thrill, a queer sensation which spread on the surface of his flesh where the tincture of warmth penetrated the numbed skin. He felt vigorous in this bracing atmosphere.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 25.

I enjoyed this passage because of the descriptiveness of the feeling of warmth. It is represented as almost a rejuvenation, where the warmth of the sun ignites power in one’s self.

Untouchable

“The bully!’ Bakha exclaimed under his breath as he listened to the last accents of his father’s voice die out in a clumsy, asthmatic cough”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 23

Bakha remarks that his father is a bully. Lakha scolds Bakha to get out of bed as he lies in his own bed. In this moment he exposes his hypocrisy and verbally abusive nature. Lakha is a lazy, cruel, and unsupportive father.

Untouchable

“He seemed a true child of the outcaste colony, where there are no drains, no light, no water; of the marshland where people live among the latrines of the townsmen, and in the stink of their own dung scattered about here, there, and everywhere; of the world where the day is dark as the night and  the night pitch-dark.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 84

This description of Rakha as the “true child” of the Untouchables paints a desolate and dark picture about life as a lower caste individual.

Untouchable

“He shivered as he turned on his side. But he didn’t mind the cold very much, suffering it willingly because he could sacrifice a good many comforts for the sake of what he called ‘fashun,’ by which he understood the art of wearing trousers, breeches, coat, puttees, boots, etc, as worn by the British and Indian soldiers in India.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 10.

The free indirect discourse in this passage suggests that he was very cold since he was shivering but goes on to say that he was not bothered by the cold.  The reader is inside of his mind what he is thinking and the intelligence he has.

Untouchable

“Like a ray of light shooting through the darkness, the recognition of his position, the significance of his lot dawned upon him. It illuminated the inner chambers of his mind. Everything that had happened to him traced its course up to this light and got the answer.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (New York: Penguin Books, 1940), 52.

I think prior to this scene, Bakha identified his sweeper status as something that dictated his everyday duties, not something that “touched” his inner self or defined his character. But in writing that the light, or Bakha’s “recognition of his position,” had “illuminated the inner chambers of his mind,” Anand illustrates that Bakha has internalized others’ views of himself as “untouchable.” His sweeper status and the way the upper castes and non-sweeper outcastes treat him aren’t just external forces to him anymore, as they have now corrupted his own sense of self.

As I Lay Dying

“My mother is a fish.” (84)

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage International, 1990. Print.

This is my second time reading this book, and this chapter still stands out to me more than any other. It’s curt, absurd, and funny. It’s strange and fitting for Vardaman to make this connection between the fish and his mother, but the “is” makes it seem almost delusional.

 

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.

As I Lay Dying

“And so it was because I could not help it. It was then, and then I saw Darl and he knew. He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma is going to die without words, and I knew he knew because if he had said he knew with the words I would not have believed that he had been there and saw us. But he said he did know and I said “Are you going to tell pa are you going to kill him?” without the words I said it and he said “Why?” without the words. And that’s why I can talk to him with knowing with hating because he knows.”

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 27.

Dewy Dell assumes that Darl knows Lafe picked into her sack because he said it “without words.” Telepathy is used as they communicate “without words.” There’s a sense of confidentiality and understanding, however Dewey Dell talks to him with hating because he knows.

As I Lay Dying

“Why, Addie,” pa says, “him and Darl went to make one more load. They thought there was more time. That you would wait for them, and that three dollars and all…….”

William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying. (New York: Vintage International, 1985). 47.

This is the first chapter where Darl is presented as an omniscient narrator, as it states in the passage “him and Darl went to make one more load,” indicating Darl isn’t present when this conversation takes place. But Faulkner still presents Darl as a 1st person narrator as indicated on page 80, where in the second to last paragraph Darl starts using “I” again indicating he is now talking about himself again.

As I Lay Dying

“I said to Dewey Dell: “You want her to die so you can get to town: is that it?” She wouldn’t say what we both knew. “The reason you will not say it is, when you say it, even to yourself, you will know it is true: is that it? But you know it is true now. I can almost tell you the day when you knew it is true. Why wont you say it, even to yourself?” She will not say it.”

William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying. (New York: Vintage International, 1985). 39-40.