All posts by AK

Father’s Help

“As he felt the bulge of the letter in his pocket, he felt like an executioner. For a moment he was angry with his father and wondered why he should not fling into the gutter the letter of a man so unreasonable and stubborn.”

Narayan, R.K. “Father’s Help.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

I found the father and the son’s relationship very interesting. Swami seems very obedient to his father, either out of fear or out of the discipline he has been taught. Even though Swami has the power to discard of the letter, he tries his very best (coming up with the tactic of doing something to justify the letter) to obey his father’s command to deliver the letter. His obedience to his father overrides the guilt that he feels inside of him his as he goes as far to ask the peon where the headmaster is. If the headmaster had not been on leave, Swami would probably have obeyed his father and given him the letter, despite his strong guilt against it.

Hurston’s style of narrative

“The cooling palma christi leaves that Janie had bound about her grandma’s head with a white rag had wilted down and become part and parcel of the woman. Her eyes didn’t bore and pierce. They diffused and  melted Janie, the room and the world into one comprehension.

“Janie, youse uh ‘oman, now, so – ”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 2000. Print. pp. 18

I noticed that Hurston’s style of narrative is split. There is one third-person voice that is highly intellectual with descriptive imagery and metaphors. The other voice is one that is in African American Vernacular English as shown in the dialogue above. I think that this particular style of narrative is important as it actually shows the division of the language on paper. Hurston may want us to realize how important language and how two different styles of narrative can be put together to tell a story.

Bakha’s unconsciously working for his benefit

“Not that he shirked work or really liked doing nothing. For, although he didn’t know it, to him work was a sort of intoxication which gave him a glowing health and plenty of easy sleep. So he worked on continuously, incessantly, without stopping for breath, even though the violent exertion of his limbs was making him gasp.”

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 18.

I found this particular part very interesting as the work that Bakha did functioned as something that gave him glowing health and easy sleep. It says “although he didn’t know it” which means that Bakha did not know it acted like an intoxication however, he continued to do it and not complain about it for he knew it benefitted him in some way (glowing health and easy sleep). I also found it interesting because it’s as if he slept to work hard and then worked hard in order to get easy sleep.




“I can feel where the fish was in the dust. It is cut up into pieces of not-fish now, not-blood on my hands and overalls…If I jump off the porch I will be where the fish was, and it all cut up into not-fish now. I can hear the bed and her face and them and I can feel the floor shake when he walks on it that came and did it” (54).

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. First Vintage International Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.

Vardaman is equating the death of his mother with the “not-fish” idea of how his traumatic this idea of “not existing anymore” is.

Woolf’s syntax

“But, thank you, Lucy, oh, thank you,” said Mrs. Dalloway, and thank you, thank you, she went on saying (sitting down on the sofa with her dress over her knees, her scissors, her silks), thank you, thank you, she went on saying in gratitude to her servants generally for helping her to be like this, to be what she wanted, gentle, generous-hearted. Her servants liked her. And then this dress of hers – where was the tear? and now her needle to be threaded. This was a favourite dress, one of Sally Parker’s the last almost she ever made, alas, for Sally had now retired, living at Ealing, and if ever I have a moment, thought Clarissa (but never would she have a moment any more), I shall go and see her at Ealing.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print. p.38

In this particular example, one can see how Woolf uses syntax to reflect Clarissa’s character. Clarissa is shown here to be vivacious as she thanks the servants numerous times. Also, the way she moves from one idea to the next (the dress to Sally Parker), it shows the quickness to her thinking. The language of this paragraph (the sound of it) shows the liveliness in her thinking and the positive energy she is trying to maintain in her life.

Hemingway’s hint of “home” compared to war culture?

“He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in the dressing room after a game.”

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1958. p18.

I thought that this comparison with the football players was very odd. It did not fit into the context of what seemed to be a very serious, warlike environment. Did Hemingway use this specific comparison to show how the people who were witnessing and experiencing war were regular people who used to be in the “football” culture back at home?

A thrilling response

“I don’t tell you so,” said Winsey. “You policemen are all alike – only one idea in your skills. Blest if I can make out why you’re ever appointed. He was shaved after he was dead. Pretty, ain’t it? Uncommonly jolly little job for the barber, what? Here, sit down, man, and don’t be an ass, stumpin’ about the room like that. Worse things happen in war. This is only a blinkin’ old shillin’ shocker. But I’ll tell you what, Parker, we’re up against a criminal – the criminal – the real artist and blighter with imagination – real, artistic, finished stuff. I’m enjoyin’ this, Parker.”

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? 1923. Reprint, New York: Dover, 2009.

This particular passage calls for a thrilling, adrenalizing response from the reader which differs from that of Stein’s “Melanctha”. To begin with, the varied language of Sayers’s novel allows for more things to happen and allows Sayer to fill up the reader’s imagination with vibrant images that had not been done in “Melanctha”. In “Melanctha”, the language was simple with repetitive words that did not call for the kind of exciting response Sayers’s novel is calling for. Also, in Sayers’s novel, there is a plot that is following the murder of a body which adds to thrill a reader gets when the clues unravel and the reader is given more information. In “Melanctha”, I felt as if the same ideas were being stated over and over again, causing one to get tiresome and maybe even bored of reading about the same thing.

Is Jeff Campbell the answer to Melanctha’s wandering in life?

“He always found life very easy did Jeff Campbell, and everybody liked to have him with them. He was so good and sympathetic, and he was so earnest and so joyous. He sang when he was happy, and he laughed, and his was the free abandoned laughter that gives the warm broad glow to negro sunshine.”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. 63. Print.

In this particular passage, I noticed that Jeff Campbell was strikingly different from Melanctha. All throughout Melanctha’s childhood and adolescence, Melanctha strives to understand and gain wordly knowledge. While the book does not let us know what she specifically wants (I’m not sure if Melanctha even knows it herself), it is apparent that she strongly desires to understand “the secret of the world” (that is how I read it). Therefore, she wanders from guy to guy or from place to place in search of that thing she desires (whatever it may be). This passage, however, introduces a new man who finds life very easy. It made me think how different he is from Melanctha who is constantly in search of the thing that will satisfy her desire. I’m not sure if this man has already found it but it was interesting to come across a character so different from her. Also, in this last part of the passage, it describes Jeff Campbell as having this “free abandoned laughter that gives the warm broad glow to negro sunshine”. This particular description was mentioned twice before this passage and the two people (Rose and Melanctha’s father) did not have this smile. And they are two people who are no longer in Melanctha’s life. Was Melanctha searching for a person with this feature? Why this particular feature?

Kurtz as a “remarkable man”

“Droll thing life is – that mysterious  arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself – that comes too late – a crop of inextinguishable regrets.”

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness”, 178. Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002.

“This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up – he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man.”

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness”, 178-179. Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002.

Marlow proclaims Kurtz’s “remarkableness” because Kurtz was able to judge and generate some sort of certainty about his experience while Marlow felt as if he couldn’t say anything that would make sense or do justice to the unfathomable truth.