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.

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.

A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man

“He read the verses backwards but then they were not poetry. Then he read the flyleaf from the bottom to the top till he came to his own name. That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after the universe? Nothing.”

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

In this moment the character begins to feel overwhelmed by the deeper thoughts he is having. It’s the first time in the novel we as the reader get to see a deeper level of thought from the narrator. Before this point we’ve gotten child like descriptions and simple musings when he is confused by things happening to him and around him. It shows a moment of growth within the character, even though it’s still early in the story.