All posts by BA

Attila

“He hung his heavy tail down so loosely and looked so miserable that the burglar stroked his head, at which he revived. The burglar opened the gate and went out, and the dog followed him. Attila’s greatest ambition in life was to wander in the streets freely. Now things seemed to be shaping up ideally.

Attila liked his new friend so much that he wouldn’t leave him alone for a moment. He lay before Ranga when he sat down to eat, sat on the edge of the of his mat when he slept in his hut, waited patiently on the edge of the pond when Ranga went there now and then for a wash, slept on the roadside when Ranga was at work” (Narayan 100).

Narayan, R.K. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Notes: This passage is intriguing since the focal point is a dog. The dog Attila was constantly personified such as when he was described as having an ambition “to wander in the streets freely.” The author also utilizes free indirect discourse to place readers inside the dog’s head when the passage reads, “Now things seemed to be shaping up ideally.” One of the ironies within the short story was the dog’s purpose was  supposed to protect the house from intruders, and he not only allows the burglar in but gets attached to him.

Post-War World Critiques

World War I made a huge impact in society. The novels that were published after it reflect the problems of the pre-war world that people began to observe and then look to change. Dorothy Sayers’ Whose Body?, published in 1923, is a detective novel with a completely different take on the method of investigation. The protagonist, Lord Peter Wimsey breaks away from the traditional method of deduction and instead relies on intuition. This novel slowly reveals people realizing that the world they were living in before the war was not ideal and that they wanted to change it. Moving away from what was once the main method signals that in the post-war era, people looked to new ways in life. The realization of the faults of pre-war way of life continue with the publication of Mrs. Dalloway in 1925. In this Virginia Woolf novel, readers are exposed to an upper class way of life that is ending. The old values of the pre-war world are crumbling. There is also a sense of how the old English way of thinking failed as exemplified by Septimus’ death since he was a soldier who fought for England. Then the critique evolves to one that pushes for change. In Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable, published in 1935, the problems of colonization and the enforcement of the caste system is exposed. The novel shows how the faults of society can lead an individual to look for change. Through the protagonist Bakha, Anand was able to point out the faults that exist within the treatment of the lower class.  The criticism on the way of life continues with Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which was published in 1937.This novel exposes the problems within the unfair treatment of an individual based on his or her race. Hurston is able to illustrate the problems an individual must face in life due to the prejudice set against him or her due to their race. Through an analysis of these four post-war novels, we begin to see a pattern of critique on the social order and way of life. There is a continuation of the theme of finding faults within the way things are and wanting to correct them.

Men’s wishes, women’s dreams

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly” (Hurston 1).

Notes: The first lines of the novel illustrate gender distinctions. It states that men’s wishes sometimes come to them through “tide” while others may not get it till the “Watcher” turns his eyes. “Time” is a problem because it mocks men’s dreams. Then the passage states that it is different for women since they “forget things they don’t want to remember.” They are not haunted by thoughts like the men. Their dreams are also the “truth” so in a way they don’t have wishes that are hard to attain like the men do.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990

Sub-human

“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” (Anand 20).

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin, 1940.

Notes: Class is an incredibly important aspect of life for Bakha. It is not enough just to be defined as a “man” but his class status greatly affects how he views life. It has been ingrained in his mind that because he is not part of the “nobility” that he is “sub-human.” His humanity is deeply tied to his status. He resents his status and sees it as a form of condemnation.

 

 

The Secret Shade

“We picked on down the row, the woods getting closer and closer and the secret shade, picking on into the secret shade with my sack and Lafe’s sack. Because I said will I or wont I when the sack was half full because I said if the sack is full when we got to the woods it wont be me. I said if it dont mean for me to do it the sack will not be full and I will turn up the next row but if the sack is full, I cannot help it. And we picked on toward the secret shade and our eyes would drown together touching on his hands and my hands and I didn’t say anything” (Faulkner 27).

Notes: Within the passage there are a plethora of repeated words. The phrase “picked on” appears again in the same sentence but in a different tense and becomes, “picking on.” “Secret shade” also appears thrice in the passage. Words like woods, closer, sack, and full are also repeated. Aside from reinforcing the setting and the actions, the repeated words and phrases force the reader to pay closer attention to the paragraph. Also, the character’s personality and thought process is further highlighted by the fact that there isn’t much of a variation in the words used.

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage, 1990.

Post War Mindset

“For it was the middle of June. The War was over, except for some one like Mrs. Foxcroft at theta the Embassy last night eating her heart out because that nice boy was killed and now the old Manor House must go to a cousin; or Lady Bexborough who opened a bazaar, they said, with the telegram in her hand, John her favourite killed; but it was over; thank Heaven—over. It was June. The King and Queen were at the Palace” (Woolf 5).

Notes: The fact that “The War” just occurred is important the story. World War I greatly influenced the mindset of the characters. They lived through fear and turmoil during the war and many experienced what it was like to lose a loved one. The character’s lives are not the same as it was before the war but there’s a sense of hope. The repetition of June emphasizes the sense of hope for a new beginning and the end of a war state of mind.

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

“We shot them”

“We were in a garden at Mons. Young Buckley came in with his patrol from across the river. The first German I saw climbed up over the garden wall. We waited till he got one leg over and then potted him. He had so much equipment on and looked awfully surprised and fell down into the garden. then three more came over further down the wall. We shot them. They all came just like that” (Hemingway 29).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 2003.

Notes: The descriptions and actions in the passages are very direct. The German was described as having “so much equipment” and that he “looked awfully surprised.” The German “climbed” and they “waited” then “potted” him. The passage is also devoid of any emotion. The sentence “We shot them” is jarring in a way that something so powerful can be described in three words.

The Little Things

“His manner as he led the way along the passage convinced Lord Peter of two things–first, that, gruesome as his exhibit was, he rejoiced in the importance it reflected upon himself and his flat, and secondly, that Inspector Sugg had forbidden him to exhibit it to anyone. The latter supposition was confirmed by the action of Mr. Thipps, who stopped to fetch the doorkey from his bedroom, saying that police had the other, but that he made it a rule to have two keys to every door, in case of accident” (Sayers 10).

Notes: Lord Peter is an observer and good analyzer. The little details matter since they may be key to answering some questions. Lord Peter’s assumptions are often correct.

Sayers, D. Whose body?. FeedBooks. http://www.feedbooks.com/book/3406/whose-body

A Portrait of Different Colors

“There were lanterns in the hall of his father’s house and ropes of green branches. There were holly and ivy round the pier glass and holly and ivy, green and red, tined round the chandeliers. There were red holly and green ivy round the old portraits on the walls. Holly and ivy for him and for Christmas.” (17-18)

“The word was beautiful: wine. It made your think of dark purple because the grapes were dark purple that grew in Greece outside houses like white temples.” (49)

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Huebsch, 1918.Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/aportraitartist01joycgoog

Notes:

The idea of colors play an important role in both passages. Colors can both represent an event and evoke feelings. Stephen uses the colors red and green for holly and ivy to symbolize Christmas. To conjure up nice thoughts he vividly visualizes what his father’s house would look like and he uses red and green to remind him of what the holidays at home would be. In the second passage he thinks the word wine is beautiful and nice to think about because it makes him visualize the color dark purple. In both instances he uses colors to evoke nice thoughts. The association of color with feelings allow readers to feel a certain way about different colors.

 

“..did everything that any woman could”

“Melanctha Herbert who was Rose Johnson’s friend, did everything that any woman could. She tended Rose, and was patient, submissive, soothing, and untiring, while the sullen, childish, cowardly, black Rosie grumbled and fussed and howled and made herself to be an abomination and like a simple beast.” 85

“Melanctha took good care of her mother. She did everything that any woman could, she tended and soothed and helped her pale yellow mother, and she worked hard in every way to take care of her, and make her dying easy. But Melanctha did not in these days like her mother any better, and her mother never cared much for this daughter who was always a hard child to manage, and who had a tongue that always could be very nasty.” 110

Notes: The two passages are similar in many ways including their vocabulary and structure. Both passage included the phrase “did everything that any woman could.” The repetition of the phrase helps emphasize a point. In this case it emphasizes the kind of woman Melanctha is. The passages are also similar in that it uses similar adjectives to describe the way Melanctha served her friend and her mother. The first paragraph had the word “untiring” while the second had “worked hard.” These similar words allow a reader to truly understand the type of character Melanctha is and how she has not changed in that aspect of her personality over the years. Also, the structure of these two paragraphs are similar in that they both start off with how Melanctha treats others then ends with how those people react to her. In these two passages both women are not pleasant and in a way ungrateful. The similarities that can be drawn from the two passages reveal how the story is constructed in a way that helps emphasize a point as well as show how things have or have not changed.

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” In Three Lives. New York: Grafton, 1909. Internet Archive. http:/archive.org/details/threelivesstorie00steirich.