Untouchable

“The blood in Bakha’s veins tingled with the heat as he stood before t. His dark face, round and solid and exquisitely well defined, lit with a queer sort of beauty. The toil of the body had built up for him a very fine physique. It seemed to suit him, to give a homogeneity, a wonderful wholeness to his body, so that you could turn round and say: ‘Here is a man.’ And it seemed to give him a nobility, strangely in contrast with his filthy profession and with the sub-human status to which he was condemned from birth.

This was a long task, lasting almost twenty minutes. Bakha, however, did not seem to feel the strain of it as he had felt that strain of his earlier occupation. The burning flame seemed to ally itself with him. It seemed to given him a sense of power, the power to destroy. It seemed to infuse into him a masterful instinct somewhat akin to sacrifice. It seemed as if burning or extraction was for him a form of physical culture.”

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable,  (London: Penguin Classics 2014), 46.

In his head, Bakha has a burning desire (literally) to destroy the caste system. He feels more superior than he knows he should, and the limitations placed on him because of his social position are not suitable to the Engish-like/higher class life he wants to lead.

The Postmaster

The . . . postmaster was . . . thinking to himself : ‘ Oh, if only some kindred soul were near—just one loving human being whom I could hold near my heart ! ‘

Sir Rabindranath Tagore, “The Postmaster.” In Mashi, and Other Stories-ries,  (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited 1918) Hathitrust, 163.

I find it ironic that the postmaster feels that there is no one he loves, yet the story has emphasis on only one other character, Ratan, who views him as family … why can’t he love Ratan like she does him?

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“‘And now we’ll listen huh uh few words uh encouragement from Mrs. Mayor Starks.’

The burst of applause was cut short by Joe taking the floor himself.

‘Thank yuh duh yo’ compliments, but nah wife don’t know nothin’ ’bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s a woman and her place is in de home.’

Janie made her face laugh after a short pause, but it wasn’t too easy. She had never thought of making a speech, and didn’t know if she cared to make one at all. It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another that took the bloom off of things.”

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God,  (New York: HarperCollins Publishers 1998), 46.

This passage reflects the theme of Janie’s oppressed thoughts throughout the novel. She struggles getting her feelings out because they are not taken seriously by men or even able to get out at all. Even the narrator speaks for her, through indirect discourse. Also, throughout the novel, Mr. Starks is referred to as “Jody” when Janie is speaking about him lovingly/as a husband, and as “Joe” when he is acting all business-like and controlling toward her. This specificity in wording demonstrates Hurston’s attention to detail and language that helped build a strong novel.

Cane

“‘There is no such thing as happiness. Life bends joy and pain, beauty and ugliness, in such a way that no one may isolate them. No one should want to. Perfect joy, or perfect pain, with no contrasting element to define them, would mean monotony of consciousness, would mean death.'”

Jean Toomer, Cane,  (New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2011), 81.

To isolate emotions from one another would be to deny the complexity of the world. The existing liminality of emotional states and their relationships to one another mirrors the relationships of some of the blacks in this novel who are looked down upon by their own black community and by the whites. Like emotions, these blacks are not fully isolated from others, due to the convoluted stature of life. Death is the only escape from these complexities brought upon us.

The Maltese Falcon

“Spade winked at his partner.

Miles Archer came forward to stand at a a corner of the desk. While the girl looked at her bag he looked at her. His little brown eyes ran their bold appraising gaze from her lowered face to her feet and up to her face again. Then he looked at Spade and made a silent whistling mouth of appreciation.”

Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1927), 7.

At first, I believed Spade’s wink to be a sign of his and his coworker’s highly evident objectification of women, but after reading that they never believed Miss Wonderly’s story (33), I am beginning to wonder if the wink was also a sign of knowing–a sign of playing along?

Whose Body?

‘By Jove!’ he announced, beaming, ‘sportin’ old bird! It’s old Mrs. Thipps. Deaf as a post. Never used the ‘phone before. But determined. Perfect Napoleon. The incomparable Sugg has made a discovery and arrested little Thipps. Old lady abandoned in the flat. Thipp’s last shriek to her: ‘Tell Lord Peter Wimsey.’ Old girl undaunted. Wrestles with telephone book. Wakes up the people at the exchange. Won’t take no for an answer (not been’ able to hear it), gets through, says: ‘Will I do what I can?’ Says she would feel safe in the hands of a real gentleman.’

Dorothy L. Sayers, Whose Body? (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2009), 22-23.

Written like notes–short and choppy sentence fragments. This is exemplary of “detective talk” in novels–it is almost as though the detective is talking into a voice recorder.

Revelation in As I Lay Dying

I gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel. then I gave him Vardaman to replace the child I had robbed him of. And now he has three children that are his and not mine. And then I could get ready to die.

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying, ed. Noel Polk (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 176.

Addie views her motherhood as a duty to her husband, and does not particularly have a connection to her children because of this. The only  child of hers that she truly feels like a mother toward is Jewel, because he was the result of a real love affair, and this is why he is her favorite. The child that she had “robbed [Anse] of” is Jewel–he is not the offspring of Anse, and so does not belong to him. Now that Addie has bore children for Anse, she feels that her lifework is done, and does not care to stick around for her children’s lives–she does not care if she dies then.

As I Lay Dying

. . . He touches the quilt as he saw Dewey Dell do, trying to smoothe it up to the chin, but disarranging it instead. He tries to smoothe it again, clumsily, his hand awkward as a claw, smoothing at the wrinkles which he made and which continue to emerge beneath his hand with perverse ubiquity, so that at last he desists . . .

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying, ed. Noel Polk (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 52.

Anse does not have the gentle fatherly/husband-like touch; he is rough and unused to such tender, caring actions. It is ironic that he copies/learns this comforting, parent-like action from his own daughter. He lacks the empathy to be a family member, as also reflected in when he ordered Dewey Dell to make supper right after her mother died and did not give her time to grieve (page 50).

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

—I don’t care a damn about you, Cranly, answered Temple, moving out of reach of the uplifted stave and pointing at Stephen. He’s the only man I see in this institution that has an individual mind.

—Institution! Individual! cried Cranly. Go home, blast you, for you’re a hopeless bloody man

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Jeri Jonson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 168.

Temple remarks on Stephen’s individualism, which has been evident throughout the novel. This is significant because it is the first time that a character has actually acknowledged Stephen’s “going against the crowd” ways aloud. Cranly is shocked by Temple’s declaration, and gets the reader thinking about what Temple meant by “institution”—did he mean it as a political, educational, or religious system?

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

—I walked bang into him, said Mr Dedalus for the fourth time, just at the corner of the store.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Jeri Jonson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 59.

The lack of quotation marks and period for the abbreviation for “mister” emphasize the stream of consciousness-like narrative that is going on in this modern story. The dashes make it almost as if the story itself is one continuous stream of dialogue.

A Haunted House

“‘Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart.'”

Virginia Woolf, “A Haunted House,” Monday or Tuesday., (Richmond: Hogarth press, 1921), 11.

This is an example of a delay; the identity of the buried treasure is not revealed until the last line of the story. Throughout the story, there are various references to beating pulses, which make the reader think of a heart–this leads up to the reveal of the buried treasure; the buried treasure is love.

Henry James, “The Middle Years”

“‘I prefer your flowers, then, to other people’s fruit, and your mistakes to other people’s successes,’ said gallant Doctor Hugh. ‘It’s for your mistakes I admire you.’

‘You’re happy–you don’t know,’ Dencombe answered.

…. ‘I want to be like you–I want to learn by mistakes!’ Doctor Hugh laughed.

‘Take care you don’t make too grave a one!'”

 

Henry James, The Middle Years, (Scribner’s 13, no. 4, 1883), 616.

 

Doctor Hugh is the opposite of Dencombe in that he does not care about what others think about him; he lives for himself, and only for himself. The fact that he would be willing to make mistakes is significant because it shows that he does not care if other people judge him. (This care-free attitude is also shown when he gives up his chance to inherit a large sum of money from the Countess.) Doctor Hughes views mistakes as learning gifts, whereas Dencombe views them as embarrassments. Dencombe is regretful that he has made mistakes because he thinks they deteriorate reputation. His obsession with pleasing the world is the reason he is depressed, and Doctor Hugh’s lack of obsession is the cause of his happy and open-minded disposition.