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

“She felt somehow 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 is not directly thinking about what someone else thinks mostly because Septimus is dead. However, this sentence puts the reader under the impression that Clarissa knew exactly what Septimus thought and felt before he died. She tries to connect her feelings to his, and in doing that basically creates her own fantasy about what Septimus was feeling. This adds to Carissa as a character as well. It is clear she is not considerate of others feelings and not only assumes about their emotions/thoughts but creates her own to match others with what she is feeling. Yet again in this novel does another character feel they knew what Septimus was feeling and what his emotions were at the time. The feeling of loneliness still resonates long after Septimus is dead.

 

 

James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

He saw the sea of waves, long dark waves rising and falling under the moonless night.  A tiny light twinkled at the pierhead where the ship was entering: and he saw a multitude of people gathered by the waters’ edge to see the ship that was enter the harbour.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 22

The darkness he sees is representative of the darkness he sees in his mind from time to time and that he feels within himself.  He often relies on others to help him find the truth, as the ship relies on the light to help it find the harbor.

Heart of Darkness

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea — something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to…”

In an almost poetic manner, Marlow presents the basis for which conquerors wreck havoc on those they deem weaker than them. Their actions are based on an idea they have been ingrained with to follow so as not to scrutinize and keep at bay the dark truth lurking underneath.

The Beast in the Jungle

It was impossible he shouldn’t take to himself that she was really interested, though it all kept coming as a perfect surprise.  He had thought of himself so long as abominably alone, and lo he wasn’t alone a bit.  He hadn’t been, it appeared, for an hour—since those moments on the Sorrento boat.  It was she who had been, he seemed to see as he looked at her—she who had been made so by the graceless fact of his lapse of fidelity.  To tell her what he had told her—what had it been but to ask something of her? something that she had given, in her charity, without his having, by a remembrance, by a return of the spirit, failing another encounter, so much as thanked her.  What he had asked of her had been simply at first not to laugh at him.  She had beautifully not done so for ten years, and she was not doing so now.  So he had endless gratitude to make up.  Only for that he must see just how he had figured to her.  “What, exactly, was the account I gave—?”

James, Henry. The Beast in the Jungle. London: Martin Secker, 1915. Print.

She has an enduring presence. Despite his inability to detect her, she has influenced his status as someone who wrongly believes they are “alone.” In fact,  he feels almost retroactively grateful for her secret keeping. 

The Beast in the Jungle

“He would have liked to invent something, get her to make-believe with him that some passage of a romantic or critical kind had originally occurred. He was really almost reaching out in imagination-as against time-for something that would do, and saying to himself that if it didn’t come this new incident would simply and rather awkwardly close. They would separate, and now for no second or for no third chance. They would have tried and not succeeded.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories and Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999), pg. 449

This passage illustrates Marcher’s longing to connect with May, even if it’s by means of pretense. There’s a desperate quality to his musings in wanting to remain in the moment.

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.

The Beast in the Jungle

“She waited once again, always with her cold sweet eyes on him. “It’s never too late.” She had, with her gliding step, diminished the distance between them, and she stood nearer to him, close to him, a minute, as if still charged with the unspoken. Her movement might have been for some finer emphasis of what she was at once hesitating and deciding to say… She only kept him waiting, however; that is he only waited. It had become suddenly, from her movement and attitude, beautiful and vivid to him that she had something more to give o him; her wasted face delicately shone with it – it glittered almost as with the white lustre of silver in her expression. ”

James, Henry. “The Beast in the Jungle.” In The Better Sort. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/bettersort00jamegoog. 226

May Bartram is running out of time to get through to Marcher. It seems that she is attempting to bridge the emotional gap between them by lessening the physical one in this scene. The line that stood out to me the most was May saying, “it’s never too late”. Is she be simply answering his question literally, about what is to come in his life? or is she attempting to penetrate his emotions, almost silently begging him to see that it is never too late to see what he has now: her love. Words used to describe her like “glittered”, “white lustre of silver”, her “gliding step”, how her “wasted face delicately shone”, all make her sound like a ghost. Her physical appearance is already seeming to reflect her impending death. Is it too late for Marcher to realize what he has before it’s gone?

The Beast In The Jungle

“He continued to attach his eyes to her, and with the sense that it was all beyond him, and that she was too, he would still have sharply challenged her, had he not felt it an abuse of her weakness to do more than take devoutly what she gave him, take it as hushed as to a revelation. If he did speak, it was out of the foreknowledge of his loneliness to come.”

“The Beast in the Jungle.” In The Better Sort. New York: Scribner, 1903. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/bettersort00jamegoog. 231