Tag Archives: truth

Gender differences

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” (1)

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, NY: HarperCollins, n.d. Print.

Notes: gender differences, reality of men versus the reality of women, dreams, truth, time, action versus watching.

I find it extremely interesting that Hurston begins her novel by discussing the “wishes of men”, when this novel is about Janie, her hardships, and her resilience. However, I think it is extremely interesting to begin this novel with a contrast between the realities of men and women, especially in regard to truth — “The dream is the truth”.


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.

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.

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)


There is one point at which the moral sense and the artistic sense lie very near together ; that is in the light of the very obvious truth that the deepest quality of a work of art will always be the quality of the mind of the producer. In proportion as that intelligence is fine will the novel, the picture, the statue partake of the substance of beauty and truth.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p592

Whose Lying?

In point of fact what is interesting about people in good society- and M. Bourget rareiy moves  out of the Fauboug St. Germain, except to come to London, is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality that lies behind the mask. It is a humiliating confession, but we are all made of the same stuff.

Wilde, Oscar.  “The Decay of Lying.” Intentions.  New York: Brentano’s, 1905.  14-15. Print.

Notes: people do not present their true self, no one is exception to this rule. Sarcasm near the end?

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”