Nightwood // historical timeline

“She was one of the most unimportantly wicked women of her time – because she could not let her time alone, and yet could never be a part of it. She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing.”

Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 74

Over the course of my past commonplaces, many characters reflect on themselves through techniques like stream of consciousness and free indirect discourse. “A Beast in the Jungle” depicts how two characters meet again after a few years, “It affected him as the sequel of something of which he had lost the beginning.” Readers can relate to Marcher’s introspective feeling of missing out on something, and understand also the feeling of knowing someone but being unable to remember how he knows her. In “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” a similar moment of self-reflection occurs with Stephen when “a new wild life was singing in his veins.” This sentence describes Stephen’s introspection and self-revelation. From this, we learn about Stephen’s character of being a self-thinker and being self-conscious of his own growth and progress. In “Mrs. Dalloway,” a similar moment of self- reflection is seen, though it is a realization of Mrs. Dalloway’s rather destructive thoughts: “It rasped her, though, to have stirring about in her this brutal monster.”Clarissa Dalloway catches herself thinking badly of Miss Kilman and feels guilty about it, as expressed in “it rasped her.”Tracking growth also means tracking one’s own unpleasant thoughts and she does marks her own personal growth by acknowledging her own unpleasant thoughts. This same theme introspective thoughts is shown in “Nightwood” when it is said that “She was one of the most unimportantly wicked women of her time.” This quote shows an acceptance of one’s flaws, the “monster” or “wild life” of personal development. Through these four novels, we can see this concept of internal thoughts and opinions which track personal growth move from merely observing one’s thoughts to the acknowledgment of flaws.

Leave a Reply