Tag Archives: words

Unspoken Knowledge

It was then, and then I saw Darl and he knew. He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma is going to die without words, and I knew he knew because if he had said he knew with the words I would not have believed that he had been there and saw us. But he said he did know and I said “Are you going to tell pa are you going to kill him?” without the words I said it and he said “Why?” without the words.

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Random House, 1964), 26.

Notes: ironic how Dewey Dell uses so many words to describe an exchange of no words; run-on sentence structure – emphasis of thoughts without spoken words?; saying one knows something vs. actually knowing something

The Emphasis on Words

“Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.”

“Indeed, my lord? That’s very gratifying.”

“Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring” (Sayers 3).

“…can I have the heart to fluster the flustered Thipps further–that’s very difficult to say quickly…” (3).

“Such a thing has never ‘appened–happened to me in all my born days…and what with one thing and another I ‘ad–had to send the girl for a stiff brandy…” (5).

Sayers, Dorothy L. Whose Body? Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2009. Print.

Notes: It seems the characters are very preoccupied with wordplay and correct choice of words in odd situations where this kind of linguistic thoughtfulness would be the last thing on Lord Peter’s, Mr. Thipp’s, and the butler’s mind, considering a dead body was just found in a bathtub. It created this atmosphere of absurdity and lightheartedness when the tone would traditionally be dark.

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.