Tag Archives: detachment

In Our Time

“The strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at that time.” (1)

Notes — vague, delayed specification of referents (who is he? who are they?), beginning the story en media res

“They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard.” (51)

Notes — detachment, simplicity of diction and syntax, no insight into the mind of the narrator, stating distressing events as simple facts, lack of emotion

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

Sifting through a life in analepsis and prolepsis with James Joyce

“He hid under the table” Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print. Pg. 5.
“He kept on the fringe of his line, out of the sight of the prefect” (Joyce 6)
“After supper in the studyhall he would change the number pasted up inside his desk from seventyseven to seventysix” (Joyce 7).
“He felt small and weak” (Joyce 13.)
“You could die just the same on a sunny day. He might die before his mother came (Joyce 19).
“His soul was still disquieted and cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin” (Joyce 65).
“He chronicled with patience what he saw detaching himself from it and testing its mortifying flavor in secret” (Joyce 56).

As a child Stephen tries to make himself physically invisible. His anguish at school is palpable and his perception of time as an immovable object is represented in paper numbers hidden in his desk or as one more hour of the day between him, sleep, and a new number. As Stephen becomes older he finds himself mentally detached from the people and places around him with a chronic longing and restlessness that can’t be quenched.

“He could scarcely recognize his own thoughts, and repeated slowly to himself: I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking beside my father who is Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland…” (Joyce 77-78)

This is similar to the poem that Stephen made out of his name and information that he printed in his geography book at school ~ pg 12. As if he needs to ground himself with names and places but do they really ground him? As if he knows the power and weakness of words.