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Narayan and Language

“What a pity, Rama Rao! I am awfully sorry, there is nothing at present. If there is an opportunity I will certainly remember you” (92).

Narayan, R.K. “Out of Business.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

Much like Anand, Narayan uses expressions that would be said in native Indian language but is then translated into English. Unlike Anand, Narayan does not use non-English terms in the novel, allowing the novel to be more easily accessed by the world.

World War I and the rise of Modernism

After World War I, many novels used characters that related their wartime experiences in a post-war time frame.
This reflects the change of the thoughts and feelings from pre-war sentiments towards modernity. In Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and As I Lay Dying (1930), we have two characters, Septimus and Darl, that have both returned from the war and have gone towards madness in silence. This is also reflected in In Our Time (1925) through the terse style of Hemingway, which is indicative of the reporting of the events of war. This shows that many of the generation that went through this war period became hardened and lost individuals due to it.

Whose Body? (1923) and Mrs. Dalloway both embody the post-war rise of highly concentrated and urban centers that is found in London. This is done in Mrs. Dalloway through the shared experiences found in the fast-paced change in focalization in this work and the shift from scientific deductive methods in traditional detective novels towards an intuitive detective method in Whose Body?.

Extended Metaphor

So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn’t know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. p.25. Print.

The narration makes a differentiation between the dialect shown in dialogue and the use of standard English in the narration. What doesn’t change is the sort of metaphors used by Janie; here, the narration continues to use Janie’s extended metaphor of trees in bloom that stands for female sexuality.

Bakha the Naïve

And though his job was dirty he remained comparatively clean. He didn’t even soil his sleeves, handling the commodes, sweeping and scrubbing them. ‘A bit superior to his job,’ they always said…

Havildar Charat Singh, who had the Hindu instinct for immaculate cleanliness, was puzzled when he emerged from his painful half an hour in the latrines and caught sight of Bakha. Here was a low-cast man who seemed clean! He became rather self-concious, the prejudice of the ‘twice-born’ high-caste Hindu against stink, even though he saw not the slightest suspicion of it in Bakha, rising into his mind. He smiled complacently. Then, however, he forgot his high caste and the ironic smile on his face became a childlike laugh.

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. 9-10. Print.

Bakha is naïve in that he believes his English appearance and cleanliness will give him respect. This is contrasted with Singh’s high-caste smugness against Bakha’s status. Still, we see that Bakha’s image does make Singh uneasy seeing his clean appearance.

Where’s Darl?

“Why, Addie,” pa says, “him and Darl went to make one more load,” (41)…
Jewel’s hat droops limp about his neck, channelling water onto the soaked towsack tied about his shoulders as, ankle-deep in the running ditch, he pries with a slipping two-by-four, with a piece of rotting log for fulcrum, at the axle. Jewel, I say, she is dead, Jewel. Addie Bundren is dead (46).

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. New York: Modern Library, 2000. p.41-46 Print.

Darl gains omniscient properties after Anse notes that Darl isn’t at the house, but out with Jewel. It is peculiar that Darl recounted events he was not present for in a normal narrative style, yet his telling Jewel that Addie was dead was told in italics, as if he wasn’t actually present for that.

Realization as a Comment of Style

As a child he had walked in Regent’s Park-odd, he thought, how the thought of childhood keeps coming back to me-the result of seeing Clarissa, perhaps; for women live much more in the past then we do, he though.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.55

Peter’s remark on how women tend to reminisce on past events is indicative of Woolf’s use of analepsis when Woolf’s narrative is focalized around female characters in the novel.

Characterization in “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.”

She [Henry’s wife] was a Christian Scientist.Her Bible, her copy of Science and Health and her Quarterly were on a table beside her bed in the darkened room.
Her husband did not answer. He was sitting on a bed now, cleaning a shotgun. He pushed the magazine full of the heavy yellow shells and pumped them out again. They were scattered on the bed.

Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 25-26. Print.

The subtle clash between these two characters highlights Hemingway’s terse writing style: Henry’s wife is a Christian scientist, thus she is against her husband’s medical work. In contrast, we have Henry, a symbol of masculinity characterized by his silence on the subject of Dick’s anger and his wielding of a shotgun.

Irony in Jane Harden’s Character

“But what could you expect when Melanctha had such a brute of a black nigger father, and Melanctha was always abusing her father and yet she was just like him, and really she admired him so much and he never had any sense of what he owed to anybody, and Melanctha was just like him and she was proud of it too, and it made Jane so tired to hear Melanctha talk all the time as if she wasn’t(p. 64).”

“Jeff Campbell did everything he could for Jane Harden. He did not care much to hear about Melanctha. He had no feeling, much, about her. He did not find that he took any interest in her. Jane Hardin was so much a stronger woman, and Jane really had had a good mind, and she has used it to do things with it, before this drinking business had taken such a hold upon her(p 65).”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. 64-65. Print.

The shifts in perspective within Stein’s writing allow characterizations of certain characters over multiple pages and in completely different paragraphs. In this passage that spans from page 64 to page 65 captures this irony in Jane Harden’s thinking. From Jane Harden’s point of view, we see Jane’s thoughts on Melanctha that she has a good mind but does not put it to good use. On the other hand, Jeff Campbell feels that same about Melanctha, but we also are reminded that Jane is a college educated woman that did have a good mind by Jeff Campbell. We see the irony in her thinking that a good mind is wasted if not put to use, while she does not recognize this about herself. This is only possible through Stein’s repetition of this same scenario while changing perspective of the character’s in her story.

The Birthplace of Civilization

“And indeed nothing is easier for a man who has, as the phrase goes, “followed the sea” with reverence and affection, than to evoke the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames. The tidal current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories of men and ships it had borne to the rest of home or to the battles of the sea…”
“And farther west on the upper reaches the place of the monstrous town was still marked ominously on the sky, a brooding gloom in sunshine, a lurid glare under the stars.
“And this also,” said Marlow suddenly, “has been one of the dark places of the earth.”

Conrad, Joseph, and Cedric Watts. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. 104-05. Print.

This passage that is found early on in this book is one of my favourite passages in the book. It feels very epic in its scale in that it is a testament to the numerous civilizations that have lied along the bank of the Thames as well as being the birthplace of the human civilization. It is precisely that passage which allows the contrast of the setting that follows to become executed as well as it does. We see the settlement upriver to be one of a gloomy aura; the passage ends with Marlow giving his thoughts on the Thames actually being “one of the dark places on earth.” While it has been the birthplace of human civilization, a place of triumph, it also harbours life’s greatest tragedies.

Individual Reception of Art

“The reception of courtly art also remains collective, although the content of the collective performance has changed. As regard reception, it is only with bourgeois art that a decisive change sets in: its reception is on by isolated individuals. The novel is that literary genre in which the new mode of reception finds the form appropriate to it.”

Bürger, Peter. Theory of the Avant-garde. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1984. Print.

The development for individual reception of art is so important for the novel as it is akin to the connection between the author’s thoughts and the reader’s mind. A one-to-one correspondence is needed for this to occur, and many other forms of art does not provide this, except for the novel.