All posts by LDC

Out of Business

“For the next few days his head was free from family cares. He was intensely thinking of his answers: whether it should be tallow or follow…Week after week he invested a little money and sent down his solutions, and every week he awaited the results with a palpitating heart…He was too impatient to wait…” (167)

Notes: pacing, entire story told so succinctly & simply; a lot of little plot happens, nothing significant though, this adds to the fast-paced feel; language, spanning days & weeks, spending money, “awaited,” “impatient” suggests strange anticipated feeling quickening pace and waiting; strange mixture of hope/disappointment, disillusionment

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


“…What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave…” (Woolf 3). 1925.

“Before us the thick dark current runs. It talk up to us in a murmur become ceaseless and myriad, the yellow surface dimpled and monstrously into fading swirls travelling along the surface for an instant, silent, impermanent and profoundly significant, as though just beneath the surface something huge and alive waked for a moment of lazy alertness out of and into light slumber again” (Faulkner 141). 1930.

“He felt dejected, utterly miserable. Was the pleasure of Charat Singh’s generosity only to be enjoyed half an hour? What had he done to deserve such treatment? He loved the child…Of course, I polluted the child. I couldn’t help in doing so…It started on account of the goal I scored. Cursed me!” (Anand 116). 1935.

“But oh God, don’t let Tea Cake be off somewhere hurt and Ah not know nothing about it. And God, please suh, don’t let him love nobody else but me. Maybe Ah’m is uh fool, Lawd, lak dey say, but Lawd, Ah been so lonesome, and Ah been waitin’, Jesus. Ah done waited uh long time” (Hurston 120). 1937.

Free indirect discourse can be found throughout many of the works we’ve read, especially these four. This device works on many levels and for many different reasons. In Mrs. Dalloway Woolf utilizes it to explore the inner workings of the mind that cannot necessarily be accessed on a tangible level. For Faulker, FID works to break up the short sentences, offering us a glimpse into the deeper minds of his characters, especially when the timing lapses, and we see how some of the inner, indirect discourse works to express these overarching themes. Anand uses it to explore the theme of class and caste, which is the most prominent theme in the text (and also prevalent in many others we’ve focused on). And Hurston uses FID as a device to interact with and question the way language works in her novel, in terms of the dialogue, dialect, and indirect discourse, and how they all work together.

Janie’s disillusionment

“The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up  the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (25).

“Janie made her face laugh after a short pause, but it wasn’t too easy…It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that night feeling cold. He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her thoughts” (43).

“…but none had the temerity to challenge him. They bowed down to him, rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down” (50).

“She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them” (72).

Notes: constant disillusionment, reality not aligned with her expectations,  Logan & Jody reality vs. images of trees/flowers/blooming nature clashing, constant hope/ belief of something better out there for her

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Collins, 1937.

Language and castes

“Bakha turned abruptly and noticed Ramanand the peevish old black moneylender shouting at him in his sharp southern diction” (19).

“And he was, as he said, in the language characteristic of the Indian lover, ‘dead over her'” (31).

Anand, Mulik Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Books. 1940.

Notes: It is notable how deeply important class and caste is in this society. And this even is reflected in Anand’s close attention to language, and how he portrays language and what characters say, as well as how these things are viewed by others in the community. Further, it’s as if the text itself is very aware of and making a conscious decision to use language to discuss these class issues, as well as to draw attention to how language is also a very ingrained aspect of each caste (and the levels within those castes as well) in society as a whole.


“And I did not think that Darl would, that sits at the supper table with his eyes gone further than the food and the lamp, full of the land dug out of his skull and the holes filled with distance beyond the land” (26-27).

“And that’s why I can talk to him with knowing with hating because he knows” (27).

comparison: “She hated her: She loved her” (Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway)

“It’s like everything in the world for me is inside a tub full of guts, so that you wonder how there can be any room in it for anything else very important” (58).

“He is his guts and I am my guts. And I am Lafe’s guts” (60).

“Go on, now, before that old green-eating tub of guts eats everything up from you” (63).

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage Books: New York. 1990.

characters’ physical & mental connectedness

“That was satisfying; that was real. Ah, how she hated her — hot, hypocritical, corrupt; with all that power; Elizabeth’s seducer; the woman who had crept in to steal and defile (Richard would say, What nonsense!). She hated her: she loved her. It was enemies one wanted, not friends…”

Notes: hate/love synonymous? are these actually extremes/ opposites or more similar than we tend to think? both very strong human emotions wanting to connect to another person; esp. Miss Kilman’s intense desire for connection (ex: “Her large hand opened and shut on the table”) with Elizabeth; touches on book’s themes of connection between humans, how are people drawn to/away from others, one way this is done is the structure of the physical space of the novel, also interconnected minds of all characters, overlapping/ sharing thoughts, etc. (image of spider’s thread illustrates these connections, both physical & mental)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Australia: University of Adelaide. 2012. Web.

Nick’s Disconnect

“His father picked the baby up and slapped it to make it breathe and handed it to the old woman.

‘See, it’s a boy, Nick,’ he said. ‘How do you like being an interne?’

Nick said, ‘All right.’ He was looking away so as not to see what his father was doing.

‘There. That gets it,’ said his father and put something into the basin.

Nick didn’t look at it.

‘Now,’ his father said, ‘there’s some stitches to put in. You can watch this or not, Nick, just as you like. I’m going to sew up the incision I made.’

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time” (17).

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

Notes: distance, disconnect from reality, language (void of emotion), emotions come across in Nick’s character, weakness, conscious disregard for connection

Nonsensical detective stories

“Then making the noise usually written ‘Tut-tut’…” (8)

Notes: Sayers writing about her own language, hypersensitivity & close attention to sounds, forces reader to become aware of these details

“‘Look here, Wimsey—you’ve been reading detective stories; you’re talking nonsense” (20).

Notes: draws attention to genre, is this story we’re reading ‘detective’? What makes it so? Characteristics? Rejects/downplays ‘detective’ genre as serious (“nonsense”), meta level of addressing own work

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? New York: Dover, 2009.

“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.

wandering and mysterious and uncertain

“‘Mis’ Herbert had always been a little wandering and mysterious and uncertain in her ways” (50).

“She was always pleasant, sweet appearing, mysterious and uncertain, and a little wandering in her ways” (52).

The content that Stein provides us, and the way in which she does it, is really interesting and quite confusing. She seems to always repeat these very vaguely broad words to describe her characters, such as Melanctha’s mother’s description above. And she doesn’t offer us any new ways to describe her the second (or third or fourth) time around. This instantly made me think if she is also using the delayed gratification method like we saw from James, in that she keeps dancing around the actual idea that she wants us to get from her helpful yet roundabout way of giving us any solid information.

Stein, Gertrude, Three Lives. Dover Publications, New York, 1994.