“Robin was outside the ‘human type’—a wild thing caught in a woman’s skin, monstrously alone, monstrously vain”
Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 155.
One of the biggest themes explored in not only Nightwood, but also The Beast in the Jungle, Cane, and Untouchable is being “outside” of the norm when it comes to identity. Marcher is not like anyone else when it comes to love. He does not show it, understand it, or really ever feel it. In the end, he is forced to question his life and identity. In Cane, the story of Bona and Paul focuses on the same idea of identity where Paul is extremely confused with who he is and ultimately loses Bona. This is where we see a fragmentation of identity. Untouchable creates a separation in society due to identity because they were seen as outsiders, as “outside the ‘human type'” as this quote from Nightwood states.
“When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another.”
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013.
Surprising that angels who are suppose to be innocent would be jealous of man. Also thinking that perhaps the mud has something to do with different races.
“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.
“Near the same tree two more bundles of acute angles sat with their legs drawn up. One, with his chin propped on his knees, stared at nothing, in an intolerable and appalling manner: his brother phantom rested its forehead, as if overcome with a great weariness; and all about others were scattered in every pose of contorted collapse, as in some picture of a massacre or a pestilence. While I stood horror-struck, one of these creatures rose to his hands and knees, and went off on all-fours towards the river to drink”
Marlow is fearful of the Africans. He personifies the black Africans as creatures and phantoms. He does not regard them as real human beings with significance and value.
Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002).