Nightwood/Historical Timeline

“He remarked, and why he did not know, that by weeping she appeared like a single personality who, by multiplying her tears, brought herself into the position of one who seen twenty times in twenty mirrors–still only one, but many times distressed.”

Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. New Directions, 1937. Print. 81.

In this passage, a strange comparison is being made in regard to the emotion that is being felt.  It sounds as though he feels that her crying is pointless, in a way, but also adds to the emotion she is feeling.


Historical timeline…

Focusing on four of my previous posts, I observed that in the texts we have read, they are full of descriptions and FID.  In The Beast in the Jungle and the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the descriptions in both text are so rich that they give a deeper level of emotion to the text than what is seen on the surface.  Then, in texts like Mrs. Dalloway and Untouchable, free indirect discourse guides the texts deeper understanding by allowing more room for the texts to be pushed upon and infer deeper meanings.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Listen, Sam, if it was nature, nobody wouldn’t have tuh look out for babies touchin’ stoves, would they? ’Cause dey just naturally wouldn’t touch it. But dey sho will. So it’s caution.” “Naw it ain’t, it’s nature, cause nature makes caution. It’s de strongest thing dat God ever made, now. Fact is it’s de onliest thing God every made. He made nature and nature made everything else.”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013. p.76.

This is a debate concerning nature vs. nurture.  In the dialect used, the characters are beginning to learn about themselves and others and discuss the obstacles that lay before them.


“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.

As I Lay Dying

“It was about a mile from the house we saw him, sitting on the edge of the slough. It hadn’t had a fish in it never that I knowed. He looked around at us, his eyes round and calm, his face dirty, the pole across his knees. Cora was still singing. ”

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 92.

The use of free indirect discourse tells the reader about the scene. We are given the location from the house and inside information about there never having been a fish. The descriptions given about his cleanliness and eyes seem to serve to contradict each other in the way that given his poor appearance, he still had the ability to present a calmness about him.

Mrs. Dalloway: Commonplace and Mind-read

“Holmes would say, ‘In a funk, eh?'”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925. Print. 145

This sentence represents the way in which Septimus believes everyone else views his mental illness, by being “in a funk.”


In this sentence, Septimus is assuming the way Holmes will approach him and his mental state.  He is assuming that others see his state as something that will pass and not something that is serious and beyond their understanding.  It highlights how Septimus thinks others see him and how that assuming hurts his mental state further.  Septimus is able to see what Holmes thinks of him and in Septimus’ mind, knows that Holmes thinks he needs to get out of this “funk,” belittling Septimus’ true feelings.

Mrs. Dalloway

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005), 5.

The first sentence of the book uses language that leaves the reader asking many questions: Why is she buying the flowers? Why does she have to buy them herself? Is this the way the character thinks? This first sentence relays that she is independent and can handle things on her own. We learn that she needs these flowers for a reason and that she will do it on her own.

Jean Toomer, Cane

“Money burns the pocket, pocket hurts,
Bootleggers in silken shirts,
Ballooned, zooming Cadillacs,
Whizzing, whizzing down the street-car tracks.”


Toomer, Jean. “Kabnis.” Cane. New York: Liveright, 2011. 53. Print.

The quote serves as a way to think of the book as a cause and effect reaction. It shows how by the decisions that are made, everyone has been involved.  The repetition of “whizzing” also serves as a representation for the whole of the novel that can, at time, leave the minds of the readers “whizzing.”

James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 2

“His own head was unbent for his thoughts wandered abroad and whether he looked around the little class of students or out the window across the desolate gardens of the green an odour assailed him of cheerless cellardamp and decay.”

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Print. 149.

The verbs and adjectives suggest that Stephen would rather look at the bigger picture than details that he would be taking in during class but still feels that regardless of where he is, it makes no difference.

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

“Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, running up high; and at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream, crept the little begrimed steamboat like a sluggish bettle crawling on the floor of a lofty portico. It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing that feeling.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness,” in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002), 138.

The language implies that everyone was very aware of the fact that they were very small to the rest of the world and knew they were neither alone, nor the center of everything.

The Beast in the Jungle

“So, while they grew older together, she did watch with him, and so she let this association give shape and colour to her own existence.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories and Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999). 460

As in the details in the beginning of the story, this sentence give the same feel about her life that the reader felt about the house that was described, as he now completes her life.