Malgudi Days

“I made preparations to leave the town in a couple of days, leaving the engine to its fate, with all its commitments. However, nature came to my rescue in an unexpected manner.” (84)

Narayan, R. K. Malgudi Days. Engine Trouble. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.

I picked this passage because of how it represents the troubles that the poor people in India have throughout this novel, and how everything seems to come down to “fate” or luck, although in reality a lot of the misfortunes come from the cause and effect relationship between people that have much more power and influence over the institutions, like local government, that then effect these people in every day lives.


“Hearing his ‘come in’ she opened the door and for one second hesitated, so incredible was the disorder that met her eyes. The room was so small it was just possible to walk sideways up to the bed; it was as if being condemned to the grave the doctor had decided to occupy it with the utmost abandon.” (84)

Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. New Directions, 1937. Print

Thinking of the historical change throughout the novels we have read this year, they all seem to have common themes but are presented through different ideas/mediums in the different novels. Starting with Heart of Darkness, we are opened to the inner monologues of our character, but it is all by direct reported speech through his story telling frame. And the theme itself of imperialism and colonization is something else that we see repeated in the course. In A Portrait of the Artist as  Young Man, we again are taken into the inner monologue of a character, but this time in the third person and mainly through free indirect discourse. And in this novel we are introduced to the bildungsroman type of story with the coming of age of Stephen Dedalus. Then in Mrs. Dalloway we again see free indirect discourse to give us thoughts and ideas of different characters, while also coming back to the idea of imperialism and war with the backdrop of World War I a constant theme. And in Their Eyes Were Watching God we still have a type of frame narrative like in Heart of Darkness, but the narrative voice is shifted from first to third, giving us more instances of free indirect discourse. This novel also brings in the ideas of nation building, race, and is a kind of anti-bildungsroman, set in the early 1900s south. And we finally end up with Nightwood, another third person narrative that uses instances of free indirect discourse while also showing this through different characters. The chosen quote I found to shed some light to the doctor, who up until this point we don’t really know too much about his history or past, but he has also been in almost every scene of the novel and given us lots of information through his dialogue and through instances of free indirect discourse.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Dat school teacher had done hid her in de woods all night long, and he had done raped mah baby and run on off just before day.” (19)

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial: 1937.

I picked this quote because of how jarring it is to talk about the rape of your own daughter, but also because of the language used in the dialogue. The language and tone created by the specific southern black dialect used by these characters makes it much harder to read and actually figure out what is happening, paired with the rape of a character here makes it even more of a disturbing scene.


“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.

Mrs. Dalloway Mind-Read

“Richard merely thought it foolish of her to like excitement when she knew it was bad for her heart. It was childish, he thought. And both were quite wrong. What she liked was simply life.” (121)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

This sentence occurs after Clarissa receives flowers from Richard, and he tells her to take her afternoon nap at three. This prompts her to analyze why Richard is so insistent that she takes her nap, and it is because, according to Clarissa, Richard takes the doctors opinions very seriously and that it is foolish of her to like to do these things when it is bad for her. This sentence then assumes that Richard thinks that way, because it is framed in Richard’s voice, although it is Mrs. Dalloway who is actually thinking that this is what Richard thinks. It also assumes that Richard only thinks this act is foolish because Clarissa is prone to do it, what it does not presume is what other motivations Richard might have to making sure Clarissa naps, which  might be simply because he loves her. This sentence also manages to create a closeness to the character of Richard through the use of reporting of the verb “he thought” but it is actually Clarissa who is doing the thinking, which then makes the reader assume that these thoughts must be true. This again relates to Clarissa’s overall character, as she gets mad at Richard for assuming she has her enjoyment coming from parties and other social events, when she just likes life, yet in getting mad at his assumption she also makes assumptions of Richard’s motives on her own.

Mrs. Dalloway

“How much she wanted it–that people should look pleased as she came in, Clarissa thought and turned and walked back towards Bond Street, annoyed, because it was silly to have other reasons for doing things” (10).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

Something about the way Clarissa’s inner monologue works and the way the narration focalizes through her struck me in this passage, as well as Clarissa’s ideas for motivation, which is in being able to please others.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 10/3

“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.” (144)

This stood out to me because of how happy and loose Stephen feels to have finally given up his deep religious feelings and to feel free in the world. This seems to be the first time he has felt like this since at least the beginning of the novel.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. (144)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“All the people. Welcome home, Stephen! Noises of welcome. His mother kissed him. Was that right? His father was a marshall now: higher than a magistrate. Welcome home, Stephen!” (16)

This passage stood out to me as when Stephen comes home from school the first time two things he references are things kids made fun of him for previously, kissing his mom and his father not being a magistrate.

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

Heart of Darkness

“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances.”

Conrad describes the environment on the boat in such a dark yet beautiful way it almost makes it seem like a world devoid of happiness, but a good one nonetheless.

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002)

The Beast in the Jungle

“The definite point was the inevitable spring of the creature; and the definite lesson from that was that a man of feeling didn’t cause himself to be accompanied by a lady on a tiger-hunt. Such was the image under which he had ended by figuring his life.” (204)

The emotion full of despair that pervades his logic and thoughts at this point of the story stood out to me.

James, Henry. “The Beast in the Jungle.” In The Better Sort. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903. Internet Archive. 204