Crowd scene

“But the crowd which pressed round him, staring, pulling grimaces, jeering and leering, was without a shadow of pity for his remorse. It stood unmoved, without heeding his apologies, and taking a sort of sadistic delight in watching him cower under the abuses and curses of its spokesman.” (39)

The crowd takes on a different type of identity. “It” transforms into something more than just people, I’m looking forward to taking my time with dome of these crowd scenes.

Ratan becomes a woman

“He longed to remember the touch on the forehead of soft hands with tinkling bracelets, to imagine the presence of loving womanhood, the nearness of mother and sister. And exile was not dissapointed. Ratan ceased to be a little girl” (9).

Here is a moment in the narrative where the type of work a female does decides her status between girl and woman. There is a connection between responsibility and adulthood.

No Faith in Blacks

“Y’all let dat stray darky tell y’all any ole lie!” (39)

The novel incites skepticism onto Jody twice within the first 40 pages. Both times, the reader doesn’t know whether or not characters are right to doubt Jody’s intentions and word. However, further reading will have to be done to see how this skepticism plays out, both for the characters and the reader.

Edit: “Let the old hypocrites learn to mind their own business, and leave other folks alone” (126).

The following is a close third person narration focalized through Janie. While it explicitly argues in Tea Cake’s defense, it raises the readers skepticism towards him, once again leaving us to consider wher we can trust black men.

On cane-fields

“Moths flickered the lamps. They put them out. Really, because she still might be live enough to shoot. Time and space have no meaning in a canefield. No more than the interminable stalks…Some one stumbled over her” (16).

The middle sentence in the excerpt adds a sense of mysticism to the passage that is neither introduced before, nor followed up with after. The first 2 sentences give a revelation as to how the men in the field feel about Carma. What comes next feels of great importance, however, it is without context and what follows doesn’t provide an explanation.


The V Motif

“The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down–from high flat temples–in a point on his forehead” (1).

Just wanted to start by reassuring everyone that I have read more than the first page. I think it’s cool that Hammett has injected literary devices as casual adjectives to describe characters. I wonder what the v motif represents.

“Got it made specially”

I measured it with my stick–the gentleman-scout’s vademecum, I call it–it’s marked off in inches. Uncommonly handy at times. There’s a sword inside and a compass in the head. Got it made specially. Anything more? (18)

Peter likes to brag about how well equipped and well prepared he is. I wonder if the characters around him think he’s a huge snob too.

Repetition in the Ending

“It’s Cash and Jewel and Vardaman and Dewey Dell,” pa says, kind of hangdog and proud too, with his teeth and all, even if  he wouldn’t look at us (261).

There’s a lot of emphasis placed on pa’s expression in the last two pages. Multiple phrases are repeated 2-3 times; I wish I knew what a hangdog is.

Portrait: Seems pretty deep

“The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told you of. The slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the body. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by these nets” (177).

Very deep stuff that Stephen is saying to his friend. I thought this would be a good passage to analyze in class.

Focalization in Joyce’s Portrait of…

“‘Tell me, did I ever tell you that story about a famous spit?'”

“‘You did not, John,’ said Mr Dedalus.”

“‘Why then,’ said Mr Casey, ‘it is a most instructive story…'” (42)


Above is a conversation that is relayed to the reader through Stephan’s point of view. The focalization becomes notable after realizing that the characters dialogue is less formal than how the conversation is being narrated. For example, Mr. Dedalus refers to his companion as John, but because John is an adult, Stephan, who is much younger, refers to him as  Mr. Casey.

Emphasis on Thought

“I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest moused-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises” (83).

This passage is supposed to be mimetic of the human mind…well, the entire short story is. I’m not sure that I’m convinced that it’s an accurate representation, but Woolf was known for trying to portray psychological theories through stream of consciousness. I thought this was a good example.

What a Narcissist

“He had his plan, which was so fine that he rejoiced in it after getting back to bed. Doctor Hugh, suddenly finding himself snubbed without mercy, would, in natural disgust and to the joy of Miss Vernham, renew his allegiance to the Countess” (272).

Something about this passage seems off, for Dencombe doesn’t REALLY want to push the young doctor away. Dencombe is portrayed as a narcissist, in the sense that he needs constant support and praise to feel good about himself. I’m sure that if a close reading were to be done on his plan and its result, we might be able to find an alternative motive for which Dencombe “rejoices”.