Untouchable, Anand

“Bakha observed her as she walked along swaying. She was beautiful. He was proud of her with a pride not altogether that of a brother for a sister” (Anand 15).

This passage interests me because this paragraph starts off describing how simple and ordinary Sohini is in this society yet Bakha is able to see her simplicity as beautiful which seems to contradict his longing to be like the Tommies who to Bakha, seem more sophisticated.


The Postmaster, Tagore

“So the traveller, borne on the breast of the swift-flowing river, consoled himself with philosophical reflections on the numberless meetings and partings going on in the world- on death, the great parting, from which none returns.

But Ratan had no philosophy. She was wandering about the post office in a flood of tears.” (Tagore 169).

The way Tagore ties in philosophy while describing The Postmaster on the flowing river and Ratan in the post office in this scene contrasts their worldliness. The Postmaster, having been to different parts of the world, knows that meeting and leaving people is a part of life and is emphasized through the river. To the young village girl Ratan, The Postmaster is the closest thing to family and love that she has probably ever known which is emphasized through her occupying a stationary space like the postoffice.

Their Eyes Were Watching God post 2

” So she didn’t cling to Janie Woods the woman. She paid homage to Janie’s Caucasian characteristics as such. And when she was with Janie she had a feeling of transmutation, as if she herself had become whiter and with straighter hair and she hated Tea Cake first for his defilement of divinity and next for his telling mockery of her” (Hurston 145).

It is important here that Hurston distinguishes that Mrs. Turner is a mockable character through indirect discourse. Of course we, as twenty-first century readers know how ridiculous Mrs. Turners argument is, however, readers in the early twentieth century might be liable to agree with this character because of the extreme racial tension present at this time. Hurston needs to outline this character explicitly to get readers to understand the purpose of Mrs. Turner’s character.

Their Eyes were Watching God by Hurston

“That wasn’t natural and it didn’t look right, but Sam said it would have been more unnatural for him to have laid down on his side and died like any other beast. He had seen Death coming and had stood his ground and fought it like a natural man. He had fought it to the last breath. Naturally he didn’t have time to straighten himself out. Death had to take him like it found him” (Hurston 59).

I feel that Janie is connected to this mule in that it is foreshadowing potential trouble perhaps even death for Janie as well as depicting that in a struggle for power, it is better to struggle than to do nothing, as the mule is shown to do with the towns people. At this point in the story, Janie is conscious of the fact that the way she is treated as a woman is not right or satisfying and I think she is going to fight but something tells me she is not going to win. However, I feel the message the author is conveying through this symbolism with the mule is that for Janie, it would be better for her to attempt to control her situation, lose and risk death rather than sit back and succumb to mistreatment.

For Wednesday 11/15:

This passage is written in indirect discourse and standard English. The passage could not have been written in direct discourse because the characters see the mule as simply a mule but the narrator wants the audience to connect Janie to the mule and give the mule metaphorical meaning so in order to include the narrators own thoughts, it must be written in indirect discourse.

Cane by Jean Toomer

” Fern’s eyes desired nothing that you could give her; there was no reason why they should withhold.” (Toomer 18).

This passage instantly reminded me of Addie Bundren. Addie never saw the usefulness of words and we almost never saw dialogue from her but on her death bed she is always described as staring, especially at Cash (Faulkner 9). Likewise, Fern exclusively communicates with her eyes and no one is sure exactly how to interpret her. I do not know if this reflects the authors uncertainty of how to portray women in novels or whether they are expressing women’s inability to use words due to lack of agency in the twentieth century.


The Maltese Falcon

” Oh, I’m so tired,” she said tremulously, “so tired of it all, of myself, of lying and thinking up lies, and of not knowing what is a lie and what is the truth. I wish I-”

She put her hands up to Spade’s cheeks, put her open mouth hard against his mouth, her body flat against his body (Hammett 89).


Although Spade makes himself out to be this know-it-all type of character, I find him oblivious to Brigid’s unclear motives. Brigid put him in a great deal of danger in the first place by lying and getting his partner killed but Spade always goes back to help her even when she runs out of money. Hence, Brigid is able to use her body to get Spade to do things for her without him even knowing really why he is doing them. He often can’t tell if she’s lying, as the above passage shows, which ultimately threatens his life and identity as a detective but he allows it to happen. I don’t think she is really tired of lying as she states but I think she actually enjoys it and I’m interested to see if/how this will enable her to get what she wants at the end of the story.

Whose Body?

” We can hardly suppose that; I’m afraid this man possessed what most criminals lack- a sense of humor” (Sayers 22).

The use of humor in the novel, especially in the description of the dead body, contrasts the dark mood expected of such a situation and helps to bring forward Peter Wimsey’s identity as an amateur detective.


“As I Lay dying” 10/15

” I would look forward to the times when they faulted, so I could whip them… I would think with each blow of the switch: Now you are aware of me! Now I am something in your secret and selfish life, who have marked your blood with my own for ever and ever” (Faulkner 170).

I thought this was a particularly powerful part of the story not just because it is one of the first times we hear Addie speak, but because it says a lot about the character she was when she was alive. Her desire to whip children shows the lack of power she possessed over her own life. It shows how she believed everyone, even innocent children, to be selfish and secretive and therefore deserving of pain.

As I Lay Dying- Faulkner

“Cash,” she says; “you, Cash!” (Faulkner 46)

“You, Cash,” she shouts, her voice harsh, strong and unimpaired. “You, Cash!” (Faulkner 48)

I found Faulkner’s use of repetition in the story interesting, especially when Addie is speaking here, because it sets a desperate, eerie type of feeling in the final moments of her life. She longs for Cash and does not speak until now and it is interesting how she is able to suddenly speak so strongly here despite being sick.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Chapter 4

” Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour?…” (Joyce 140).

It was at this point that I believe Stephen discovered why he could not be a priest. He does not want to repeat the words of others and legend, but instead wants to create his own prose. This is an example of him recognizing himself as an artist.

Joyce- “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

“When would he be like the fellows in poetry and rhetoric? They had big voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very far away” (Joyce 13).

Joyce’s use of poetry in the novel helps the reader to understand Stephen as a character able to take what is observable to him in his society and contemplate meaning. As Stephen grows, he is confused by what he sees and struggles to understand his reality, but he nevertheless tries through abstract ways such as poetry. Poetry is his way of attaching meaning to his life, despite living in such a rigid society where the meaning is supposed to be very clear and religious based.

“The Mark on the Wall” by Virginia Woolf

I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to think quietly I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts” (Woolf 82). 

This reminds me of how modernist writers struggled to interpret reality in which they used observation as a main tool. I believe Woolf is suggesting that it’s the imagination in the depths of the mind that create the best of our human experience; not what’s visible or on the “surface”. If we could just sit and think all the time about pleasant thoughts uninterrupted by apparent obstacles, reality would be sweeter and softer.


The Middle Years

” It was an accident, but happier than most accidents, so that Dencombe, exhilarated as well as confounded, spent half an hour in making his visitor talk while he kept himself quiet” (James 613). 

Henry James, The Middle Years, page 613.

The fact that Dencombe wishes to hear Dr. Hugh’s opinion of his work so earnestly proves that he cares too much about what others think about his work and perhaps this is the reason Dencombe didn’t accomplish as much as he would have liked to as a writer. This quote lead me to believe that Dencombe is the type of person who spends too much time focusing on others thoughts and not enough time reflecting on his own which is something writers need to do.