“Swami went to his seat with a bleeding heart. He had never met a man so good as Samuel.”
“He is very violent, especially with boys who come late. Some days ago a boy was made to stay on his knees for a whole period in the corner of the class because he came late, and that after getting six cuts from the cane and having his ears twisted. I wouldn’t like to go late to Samuel’s class.”
Narayan, R.K. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Notes: I was wondering if these stories that Swami tells about Samuel are fabrications to get him out of school. I think they are. Even when Samuel eventually canes Swami, he does it reluctantly, it seems like.
Mrs. Dalloway: The main characters are decidedly upper class. Most of them are well-to-do.
Their Eyes Were Watching God: The main characters range from middle to upper class.
As I Lay Dying: The main characters in the story are middle to lower class.
Untouchable: The main characters are the lowest of the low class.
These novels came out in different eras and reflect different societies. They all deal very heavily with issues of class and social stratification. The worst situations are reserved for the characters in Untouchable. This is interesting because these books represent a decent amount of the twentieth century world. Interestingly, the more modern books don’t deal with the higher classes. It would be assumed that social stratification becomes less of an issue as time goes on because people begin to understand compassion and the unfairness of inequality. According to these novels, however, this is not the case.
“‘For this man’, he said to himself, ‘I wouldn’t mind being a sweeper all my life. I would do anything for him.'”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. London: Penguin Books, 1935. Print.
Notes: Interesting because Bakha has to do terrible work for people like the Havildar but due to his fame Bakha doesn’t mind. The lower class still manages to revere the upper class, despite the fact that the upper class is the reason they have duties like being a sweeper.
“Addie Bundren could not want a better one, a better box to lie in. It will give her confidence and comfort. I go on to the house followed by the
Chuck. Chuck. Chuck.
of the adze.”
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.
Notes: I liked the placement and spacing of the “chucks”. I read it in my head slower and more pronounced, which I think is probably what Faulkner was going for.
“Health we must have; and health is proportion; so that when a man comes into your room and says he is Christ (a common delusion), and has a message, as they mostly have, and threatens, as they often do, to kill himself, you invoke proportion; order rest in bed; rest in solitude; silence and rest; rest without friends, without books, without messages; six months’ rest; until a man who went in weighing seven stone six comes out weighing twelve.”
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print
Notes: The lack of periods in this passage makes it easy for the reader to see how quickly Sir William’s mind works. His thoughts fly by, and Woolf does a good job showing that with the lack of breaks in his thoughts.
“Even idiots occasionally speak the truth accidentally.”
Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body?. New York: Dover Publications, 2009.
Notes: I just thought this was a really awesome quote. It does not only apply to this story, but to others as well. Furthermore, it shows how Wimsey feels about other people that he knows. He thinks he is smart.
“After she had lived some time this way, Rose thought it would be nice and very good in her position to get regularly really married.” (Stein, 49)
“…Rose stayed home in her house and sat and bragged to all her friends how nice it was to be married really to a husband.” (Stein 49)
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives. New York: Dover Publications, 1994.
I found these two passages interesting because of their emphasis on the reality of Rose’s marriage to Sam Johnson. Stein qualifies married with the word “real” or “really” more than these two times. It’s interesting to think that maybe Stein believes there could be fake marriage. I just thought it was interesting and kind of funny how Stein keeps asserting the validity of Rose’s marriage.
“If it had no importance he scarcely knew why his initial impression of her should so seem to have so much; the answer to which, however, was that in such a life as they all appeared to be leading for the moment one could but take things as they came”
Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle” in The Better Sort, (New York: The Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 190-191.
The appearance of how a life is lived can be as important as how a life is actually lived. James is also speaking on the inevitability of events and the importance of taking things in stride.