Tag Archives: expectations

Hopes and Expectations

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Orlando: Harcourt Inc, 1925. Print.

“For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of all miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can’t be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason; they love life.” (Woolf 4)

Notes: high hopes for England post-war, everyone appears to be in a state of optimism

Anand, Mulk Raj. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 1935. Print.

“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 cope them as well as he could in the exigencies of his peculiarly Indian circumstances.” (Anand 11)

Notes: Bakha wants to be something he’s not. Thinks that if he dresses and behaves like them, he can be a part of their impressive lifestyle.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990

“…she made a sort of comfort for herself. Yes, she would love Logan after they were married. She could see no way for it to come about, but Nanny and the old folks had said it, so it must be so. Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant. It was just so. Janie felt glad of the thought, for then it wouldn’t seem so destructive and mouldy. She wouldn’t be lonely anymore.” (Hurston 21)

Notes: Janie’s naivety fools her into thinking that everything will work itself out. She expects that as soon as they are married she will love Logan.

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying, The Modern Library Editions, 2000

“It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet and not that goddamn adze going One lick less. One lick less and we could be quiet.” (Faulkner 15)

Notes: Jewel wants it to just be him and Addie. He desires a maternal presence where he is alone with his mother because he feels he is the only one that really cares about her.

Literary-History Trajectory: In the four novels, I found instances of character’s expectations that do not necessarily coincide with reality. A little over 30 years spanned between Mrs. Dalloway and As I Lay Dying, but nothing has changed in terms of people’s expectations. Time and time again people will always hope for something better than they have now. Each author expresses these expectations in different ways.

Expectations dissolved

“It hadn’t taken them many minutes, after all, to put down on the table, like the cards of a pack, those that constituted their respective hands; only what came out was that the pack was unfortunately not perfect- -that the past, invoked, invited, encouraged, could give them, naturally, no more than it had.”

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

Notes: Expectations vs. reality, perspective differences, disappointment