All posts by LiteraryAvenger

The Heart vs The Ear: Their Eyes Were Watching God

“They know mo’ ’bout yuh than you do yo’self. An envious heart makes a treacherous ear. They done ‘heard’ ’bout you just what they hope done happen.” (5)


Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York : Perennial, 1998. Print.

Notes: Jealousy can alter an event. The truth is not always what people want to hear/believe. People will make conclusions vs what really happen do it accommodates how they feel.  Gap between what has happened and what people think happened.

The Importance of Clothes

“And he had soon become possessed with an overwhelming desire to live their life. He had been told they were sahibs, superior people. He had felt that to put on their clothes made one a sahib too. So he tried to copy them in everything, to copy them as well as he could in the exigencies of his peculiarly Indian circumstances (11)”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York:  Penguin Group, 1940. Print


Notes: Colonialism, out appearance is important to fit in.  The importance of clothes. What people are willing to do to become superior, better.

The Dalloways and Flowers

“But he wanted to come in holding something. Flowers? Yes, flowers, since he did not trust his taste in gold: any numbers of flowers, roses, orchids, to celebrate what was, reckoning things as you will, an event; this feeling about her when they spoke of Peter Walsh at luncheon; and they never spoke of it; not for years had they spoken of it; which he thought, grasping his red and white roses (a vast bunch in tissue paper), is the greatest mistake in the world. (115)

Notes: A reference back to the first sentence. “Mrs, Dalloway said she would buy flowers herself” (3). Here, Mr. Dalloway is going to buy them. He see the potential conflict arising in the future, and acknowledges he could have done more. Gifts to soften the situation. Flowers play a part in the plot.  Importance of not talking/communication.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

When the Truth becomes Lies

“His lies were quite unimportant lies and consisted in attributing to himself things other men had seen, done or heard of, and stating facts certain apocryphal incidents familiar to all soldiers (70).”

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 1925. Print

Notes: That once people hear the truth so many time, they don’t want to listen anymore. Lies can make people listen.  A lie can take the form of the truth if the basic ideas and information are correct.

The Fate of Hair

Mr. Alfred Thipps was a small, nervous man, whose flaxen hair was beginning to abandon the unequal struggle with destiny (4).

Sayers, Dorothy L. Whose Body? Mineola: Dover Publications, 1923. Print

Note: full of description, even when talking about hair.  Makes a theatrical deal out of something. Brings a bit of humor to the situation. Stands out and makes one reread the sentence. Draws attention.

Right vs Wrong in Joyce

“They all laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh with them. He felt his whole body hot tight and confused in a moment. What was the right answer to the question? He had given two and still Wells laughed. But Wells must know the right answer for he was third in grammar.” (11)

-Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priest would not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right and what is wrong. (25)

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

The two entires above stress the idea of other individuals knowing the correct answer to questions, whether simple or complex. In the first, Wells has to know which answer is right. Stephen cannot see that he is being mocked, but rather sees that Wells knows all. Obviously, Stephen cannot know the right answer because everyone is laughing at him. is the idea that  people cannot think for themselves. They have to go to other people and see the correct response/answer may be. The second entry also goes along these line. It states that individuals are willing to trust others just because of a title or status. People are suppose to trust a priest because they know what the difference between good and evil is. They know what is right and wrong. All because they are called a priest. They have been trained to know this.  You may not even know the priest well at all, but your suppose to trust him. Both entries highlight the thought that as individuals, we turn to others greatly for the right answers.

Complex Development

“Melanctha Herbert had not loved herself in childhood. All of her youth was bitter to remember.” (50)

“And Melanctha loved him for it always, her Jeff Campbell now, who never did things ugly, for her, like all the men she always knew before always had been going to her.” (90)

Stein, Gertrude. ” Melanctha” Three Lives.  Mineola: Dover, 1994.  50-90. Print


In Melanctha, the first part of work focuses on her childhood, and how this would shape her into the women described as the book goes on. The first quote sums up that section rather well. It states that she had a bad childhood, from a mean father, to misleading friends. What is interesting is the second quote. She say ‘all the men she always knew before…’, which references her father and the men she interacted with prior to meeting Jeff. This is important because the first quote reminds us that Melanctha did not have a great childhood, one that she tries to block out. Yet, Jeff Campbell is so good to her, that when she does look back at the dark time in her life, she clearly sees she has something better. After keeping to herself, she is willing to open up to this young man. It is the idea that as the book develops, so does the complex protagonist.

What is Life?

Life is not a series of gig lamps  symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little mixture in the alien an external as possible?

Wolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction” The Common Reader, First Series. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925.  150. Print.

Notes: Life is complex; life is not simple and well organized. This is how fiction should be; what the job of the writer is

The Freedom in Art & Fiction

But the only condition that I can think of attaching to the composition of the novel is, as I have already said, that it be sincere. This freedom is a splendid privilege, and the first lesson of the young novelist is to learn to be worthy of it. “Enjoy it as it deserves,” I should say to him; “take possession of it, explore it to its utmost extent, publish it, rejoice in it. All life belongs to you…

Joyce, James. ” The Art of Fiction”. Major Stories & Essays. Leon Edel, Mark Wilson, Kohm Hollander, David Bromwich, Denis Donoghue, William L.Vance, Edward Said.  New York: The Library of America, 1999. 592. Print

Notes: no strict rules writers must follow, do not let others tell you how to write. Writing- adventure.