Wanting an Experience

Characters in four of the novels we have read are all looking to feel or have something new. They all want to be a part of an experience that is away from what they have already done.

Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad (1899): ” I wouldn’t have believed it of myself; but then-you see- I felt somehow I must get there by hook or by crook” (Conrad 109).

Notes: Here, the main character, Marlow, discusses how he much he wants to travel to Congo (Conrad 108). The author shows how important this experience would be for Marlow in the way he describes it.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2008. Print.

“Melanctha” by Gertrude Stein (1909): “Melanctha always had a strong sense for real experience” (Stein 73).

Notes: In this book, once again, the main character, Melanctha does not allow much to stop her from getting the “experience” she thinks she wants to have (Stein 73).

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three Lives and Q.E.D. Ed. Marianne DeKoven. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2006. 53-147. Print.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce (1916): “He burned to appease the fierce longings of his heart before which everything else was idle and alien” (Joyce 83).

Notes: Readers are able to see the importance of going through something different because  the author writes how Stephen “…burned…” for an experience (Joyce 83).

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

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925): ” He pursued; she changed. There was color in her cheeks; mockery in her eyes; he was an adventurer, reckless he thought, swift, daring, indeed…” (Woolf 53).

Notes: In Woolf’s book, Peter Walsh suddenly decides to follow a woman (Woolf 53). It is a new experience because he describes it as “…daring…” (Woolf 53).

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

Literary-historical trajectory-  Through this pattern, I can see the idea of experience going on even as time continues. I think this shows how different characters in different books, all seem to want something more.

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