Tag Archives: James Joyce

Footnotes: A Common Device in 20th Century Fiction

Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand (1935), Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston (1937), Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers (1923), and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916) all utilize the device of footnotes  to bring forth a message to the readers.

Jeri Johnson, who wrote the introduction of Portrait: ” ‘Epiphany’: a word which Joyce appropriates from the lexicon of the sacred to that of the profane” (XXXVI).

Joyce, J. (1916). A portrait of the artist as a young man. (p. XXXVI). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sayers: “Lord Peter’s wits were wool-gathering. The book is in the possession of Earl Spencer” (4).

Sayers, D. (1923). Whose body?. (p. 4). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, INC.

Anand: “The Hindus do not allow a person to die in bed, but bring the dying to rest as near the earth as  possible; the idea being that from the earth we come, to earth we return.” (81).

Anand, M. R. (1935). Untouchable. (p. 81). London: Penguin Books.

Hurston: “A beating with the fist” (98).

Hurston, Z. N. (1937). Their eyes were watching god. (p. 98). New York: Harper Perennial.

The literary-historical trajectory that can be noted from these novels is that they each serve a purpose that fits the time and/or tone of the stories.  For example, Sayers’ novel is not meant to be taken seriously because it is a satirical detective story, so the footnote is consistent with the story and also meant to entertain the reader.  Joyce’s novel, although the footnote was not an original part of the story, still helps the reader understand a theme that will be seen throughout the novel.  Anand and Hurston’s stories are written later in the 20th century, and they both serve to make clarifications for the reader in terms of customs and the meanings of phrases.  The footnotes are for the most part continuous in that they are granting the reader clarifications.  However, Hurston’s novel in particular is the most controversial (a joke about violence?) and also is the novel that is published the latest.

Where is the body?

“We both have got a body in a bath,
We both have got a body in a bath—
For in spite of all temptations
To go in for cheap sensations
We insist upon a body in a bath—”

“Gin a body meet a body
Hauled before the beak,
Gin a body jolly well knows who murdered a body and that old Sugg is on the wrong tack,
Need a body speak?”

Notes: poem, bad place to hide the body, murder was tempting?, why is the body in the bath,

getting older and reaching further

“But he felt better now than before. It would be nice getting better slowly. You could get a book then. There was a book in the library about Holland. There were lovely foreign names in it and pictures of strange looking cities and ships. It made you feel so happy” (20).

 

“He returned to Mercedes and, as he brooded upon her image, a strange unrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever gathered within him and led him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue. The peace of the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tender influence into his restless heart. The noise of children at play annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel, even more keenly than he had felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others. He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him” (53).

 

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (1916). A Penn State Electronic Classic Series Publication. 2000. Web.

 

The presence of epiphanies is prominent in this piece of work. We, as readers, are in Stephen’s mind- we are exploring his thoughts with him. Both passages convey a deep nostalgia and wanderlust, a sort of longing within him for something he has yet to grasp. He feels ‘happy’ looking at pictures of foreign lands, sees himself as ‘different from others’, and wants to venture out into the ‘real world’. Stylistically, one should note the change in language from the first passage to the second one; as the novel progresses, so does the vocabulary and complexity of the sentences. This may be an indication of Stephen’s psychological maturation, the fact that he is beginning to understand the world in a more complex way as he grows older.

 

Childhood

He still tried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his mother or wrong to kiss his mother? You put your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips to his cheek; her lips were lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny little noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces? (11)

His fingers trembled as he undressed himself in the dormitory. He told his fingers to hurry up. He had to undress and then kneel and say his own prayers and be in bed before the gas was lowered so that he might not go to hell when he died. He rolled his stockings off and put on his nightshirt quickly and knelt trembling at his bedside and repeated his prayers quickly quickly, fearing that the gas would go down. (15)

Within both passages Joyce explores the childish innocence that Stephen views the world. In the first passage, Stephen questions whether it is right or not to kiss his mother. He demonstrates this curiosity in kissing itself by analyzing the entire act. In the second passage, Stephen shows his innocence in his fear of not being in bed before the gas was lowered. Joyce emphasis the boy’s sense of urgency through the repetition of words such as “quickly”.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.

Is this wrong…or right ?

“He still tried to think what was the right answer.” (Joyce 11)

– During this scene, Stephen is still hung up and questioning the fact on whether or not what he does is right or wrong… Even tho Stephen maybe feels like a target, he shouldn’t care of what people think. So I think any answer he gives is the right answer.

“The train was full of fellows: a long long chocolate train with cream facings. The guards went to and for opening, closing, locking, unlocking the doors. They were men in dark blue and silver, they had silvery whistles and their keys made a quick music: click, click, click, click.” (Joyce 16)

– The writing style is very fun and different. Color is something that is brought up a lot in this paragraph. Joyce also described everything very well here. It makes the reader really get and understand what is happening on the train.

Notes: questioning, color = descriptive ?,  you shouldn’t care about what people think, enjoy the little details.

Sick in his heart

” He drank another cup of hot tea and Fleming said:
– What’s up? Have you a pain or what’s up with you?
– I don’t know, Stephen said.
– Sick in your breadbasket, Fleming said, because your face looks white. It will go away.
– Oh yes, Stephen said.
But he was not sick there. He thought that he was sick in his heart if you could be sick in that place. Fleming was very decent to ask him. He wanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and opened the flaps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory every time he opened the flaps of his ears. It made a roar like a train at night. And when he closes the flaps the roar was shut off like a train going into a tunnel. ”

” Sitting in the studyhall he opened the lid of his desk and changed the number pasted up inside from seventyseven to seventysix. But the Christmas vacation was very far away: but one time it would come because the Earth moved round always. ”

” He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written there: himself, his name and where he was.
Stephen Dedalus
                                       Class of Elements
                                       Clongowes Wood College
                                       Sallins
                                       County Kildare
                                       Ireland
                                       Europe
                                       The World
                                       The Universe
That was his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written on the opposite page:
Stephen Dedalus is my name,
                                       Ireland is my nation.
                                       Clongowes is my dwellingplace
                                       And heaven my expectation. ”

James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Oxford World’s Classics, 2000 (p10, 11, 12)

“What was after the universe? Nothing.”

“What was after the universe? Nothing. But was there anything around the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be a wall but there could be a thin thin line there all round everything. It was very big to think about everything and everywhere.” (12)

“In a vague way he understood that his father was in trouble and that this was the reason why he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes. For some time he had felt the slight change in his house; and those changes in what he had deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world.” (70)

Stephen’s growth in the way he views the world and society begins to shift as he ages. This is proving to be a coming-of-age novel among many other themes. We can see at an early age he thinks differently than many of the boys he goes to school with. And we especially see this emerge when his teacher calls him out for heresy in his paper, and again when he stands up to Heron about who is the best poet.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Random House, New York, 1928.

Portrait of the artist as a young man

“It pained him that he did not know well what politics meant and that he did not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak.”

“We are an unfortunate priestridden race and always  will be until the end of the chapter.”

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Edited by Jeri Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Page 13,  31.

A Portrait of the Artist as He Paints Descriptions

“White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colours to think of. And the cards for first place and second place and third place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender. Lavender and cream and pink roses were beautiful to think of. Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could” (9).

 

Joyce, James. (2008). A portrait of the artist as a young man. Oxford, Great Britain: Oxford university press.

 

Notes: The colors of the roses that are being described from Stephen’s viewpoint greatly contrast moments dark and dreary moments in the story . It is interesting to note that Stephen is paying close attention to the colors of the roses as he becomes ill.  Stephen thinking about the potential of a green rose’s existence is his last thought about these colors as the bell rings and his thinking is disrupted.