All posts by LNG

Dialect in “Their Eyes”

“What she coin coming back here in dem overhauls? Can’t she find no dress to put on? – Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in? – Where all dat money her husband took and died and left her? – What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? – Where she left dat you lad of a boy she went off here aid? – Thought she was going to marry? Where he left her?  – What he done wid all her money? – Betcha he off wid some gal so young she ain’t even got no hairs –  why she don’t stay in her class? -” (2)

Notes: dialect, gender expectations, age expectations – she isn’t expected to still “dress young”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

Wanting to talk and then not wanting to talk

“At first Krebs, who had been at Belleau Wood, Soissons, the Champagne, St. Mihiel and in the Argonne did not want to talk about the war at all.  Later he felt the need to talk but no one wanted to hear about it.  His town had heard too many atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities.  Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie, and after he had done this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and against talking about it” (69).

Hemingway, Ernest.  In Our Time.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons.  1970.

Notes: Lies versus truth and how they play into the idea of talking about the war, the debate of wanting to talk about it and not wanting to talk about it, report-style writing (it has a certain journalistic quality to it reporting facts but not all the details – like what stories had been told)

Well, it could have been burglars…

“…All I said was: ‘It might have been burglars,’ I said, ‘remember that, next time you leave a window open all night; this time it was a dead man,’ I said, ‘and that’s unpleasant enough, but next time it might be burglars,’ I said, ‘and all of us murdered in our beds.'” (6).

Note: the philosophy of “it could have been worse,” understatement, the idea of a dead body only being unpleasant.

Sayers, Dorothy L,. (2009). Whose body?. (p. 8). Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, INC.

Color, Imagination, and Childhood

“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).

“Fleming had a box of crayons and one night during free study he had coloured the earth green and the clouds maroon.  That was like the two brushes in Dante’s press, the brush with the green velvet back for Parnell and the brush with the maroon velvet for Michael Davitt.  But he had not told Fleming to colour them those colours.  Fleming had done it himself.” (12).

The thing that I saw that was interesting about both of these passages was that they both involve color and what is considered “normal.”  Green roses aren’t normal and so you cannot have one.  In the second passage,  Fleming colors maroon clouds.  He is careful to mention that he hadn’t insisted that Fleming color such a thing.  It kind of brings out the idea of how as kids we’re able to stretch our imagination to where coloring maroon clouds may be normal (or a green rose).  At a certain point, our imagination shrinks and so coloring those things breaks the norms of what we’re used to considering as correct.

Simplicity in Description and Realness

“Rose Johnson was a real black, tall, well built, sullen, stupid, child-like, good looking negress.  She laughed when she was happy and grumbled and was sullen with everything that troubled.  Rose Johnson was a real black negress but she had been brought up quite like their own child by white folks.” (Stein 47)

“Melanctha Herbert was a graceful, pale yellow, intelligent, attractive negress.  She had not been raised like Rose by white folks but then she had been half made with real white blood.” (Stein 48).

In both of these passages the description by Stein makes the characters of Melanctha and Rose as polar opposites in terms of their background.  The use of the word “real” is really interesting here – it seems to imply that there is a significant difference between being a real black and not.  It is unclear if that difference is something that is intentional and will be explored or if it is left for us as readers to question.  The description is also very simple, and very much only on the surface.  We don’t get much depth into the characters at this very early point in the novella.

Stein, Gertrude. ” Melanctha” Three Lives.  Mineola: Dover, 1994.  47-94. Print

The Beast in the Jungle

“It affected him as the sequel of something of which he had lost the beginning.  He knew it, and for the time quite welcomed it, as a continuation, but didn’t know what it continued, which was an interest, or an amusement, the greater as he was also somehow aware – yet without a direct sign from her – that the young woman herself had not lost the thread.  She had not lost it, but she wouldn’t give it back to him, he saw, without some putting forth of his hand for it; and he not only saw that, but saw several things more, things odd enough in the light of the fact that at the moment some accident of grouping brought them face to face he was still merely fumbling with the idea that any contact between them in the past would have had no importance.  If it had had no importance he scarcely knew why his actual 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.”

Notes:  he has to make an effort, figuring out if meetings have an importance, shift to taking life as it comes, beginnings and continuations

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle”, in Major Stories & Essays (New York: Library of America, 1999), 446.