Tag Archives: life

Forever Young

“They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning. In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die” (19).

Ernest, H. (2003). In our time. (p. 19). New York: Simon & Schuster.


Notes: After seeing new life and death within minutes of each other, young Nick does not think he is going to die. This is a common trait that young children and even young adults share: they do not think that aging like their parents is possible and that it is very far off.  Additionally, Nick may not think he will ever die because he feels so alive with a new day ahead.

Melanctha’s personality

“Melanctha was pale yellow and mysterious and a little pleasant like her mother, but the real power in Melanctha’s nature came through her robust and unpleasant and very unendurable black father.” (Stein 50)

“Once she slipped and fell from a high place.” (Stein)

These two quotes made me get a sense of Melanctha’s characteristics. Every character is going to have problems, and a story but from the first quote the reader can understand she gets her attitude from her black father. The second quote is just a quote I really like. Talking it out if context, every time I read it I see it as if someone who thinks highly of themselves is going to eventually trip and stumble at least once in their life.

Appearance of Life

“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.

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

Feeling life

The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge of whole things of the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it – this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience, and they occur in country and in town, and in the most differing stages of education. If experience consists of impressions, it may be said that impressions are experience, just as they are the very air we breathe.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p581

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.

Is life art?

A novel is in its broadest definition a personal, a direct impression of life : that, to begin with, constitutes its value, which is greater or less according to the intensity of the impression. But there will be no intensity at all, and therefore no value, unless there is freedom to feel and say (James 384).

James, Henry. “The Art of Fiction.” In Partial Portraits. New York: Macmillan, 1894. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/partialportraits00jameiala.

notes: definition, emotion, connection

Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die
of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity. I only hope we shall be able to keep this great historic bulwark of our happiness for many years to come; but I am afraid that we are beginning to be over-educated ; at least every- body who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching —that is really what our enthusiasm for education has come to (Wilde 5).

Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying.” In Intentions. New York: Brentano’s, 1905. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/intentionsdecayo00wild.

notes: insight, critique, “incapable of learning has taken to teaching”