Tag Archives: character

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.

Lady Bruton’s Impatience

 

“She was getting impatient; the whole of her being was setting positively, undeniably, domineeringly brushing her aside all this unnecessary trifling (Peter Walsh and his affairs) upon that subject which engaged her attention, and not merely her attention, but that fibre which was the ramrod of her soul, the essential part of her without which Millicent Bruton would not have been Millicent Bruton; that project for emigrating young people of both sexes born of respectable parents and setting them up with a fair prospect of doing well in Canada. She exaggerated. She and perhaps lost her sense of proportion” (108-9).

In this passage the extent of Lady Bruton’s impatience for Hugh Whitebread is expressed by explaining how her impatience let her be successful in the past, and constructs who she is today. This impatience, which is suggested to be a feeling of sublime impatience, was so powerful that she was able to conduct the emigration project. Considering Lady Bruton’s ratio of patience to impatience, her “sense of proportion” is like that of a crazy person.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.108-9

 

Deciphering the important

“”But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.”

Hemingway, Ernest.  In Our Time. “Indian Camp.”New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. Print. pp 16.

Hemingway seems to almost be suggesting through the dialogue of the father that certain things are more important than others  which might very well even apply with his writing. The very fact that he (Hemingway/unknown narrator) switches back and forth from calling the character father and doctor suggests importance since they could have stayed consistent throughout the story.

 

Whose Body

Mr. Alfred Thipps was a small, nervous man, whose flaxen hair was beginning to abandon the unequal struggle with destiny. One might say that his only really marked feature was a large bruise over the left eyebrow, which gave him a faintly dissipated air incongruous with the rest of his appearance. Almost in the same breath with his first greeting, he made a self-conscious apology for it, murmuring something about having run against the dining-room door in the dark. He was touched almost to tears by Lord Peter’s thoughtfulness and condescension in calling.

“I’m sure it’s most kind of your lordship,” he repeated for the dozenth time, rapidly blinking his weak little eyelids.

 

Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers

Characters brought to life in dialogue

“I give you full credit for the discovery, I crawl, I grovel, my name is Watson, and you need not say what you were just going to say, because I admit it all.”

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? 1923. Reprint, New York: Dover, 2009.  pp 30.

Here we get some insight on the character of Lord Peter Whimsey. The novel does an extraordinary job creating a personality for a character through dialogue that really makes them come to life. In moments such as this one we can see Lord Peter Whimsey admitting his slight oversight of some evidence, but instead of humbly admitting his failure to have noticed it himself, he repeatedly mentions it. What’s more is he creates such a volume to his report of missing the evidence that it begins to come across as insincere as well as humorous for the reader. This ultimately gives shape to Lord Whimsey’s character and allows us to see how someone of his status in society truly feels about these cases, almost as if it were a game or one of his beloved detective novels, as well as showing how prideful he is in thinking that he is normally always right.

Consistency of Character

“Melanctha Herbert was always seeking rest and quiet, and always she could only find new ways to be in trouble.”

“Melanctha was all ready now to find new ways to be in trouble. And yet Melanctha Herbert never wanted not to do right. Always Melanctha Herbert wanted peace and quiet, and always she could only find new ways to get excited. ”

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three lives. Dover Publications, New York. 1994. pp 50, 123. Print.

These two quotes come from opposite ends of the story perhaps to emphasize the direct point that Melanctha always wants peace and quiet but is always running into trouble and excitement. However, there seems to be greater meaning to certain passages that tend to get repeated, such as this one, when they appear later on within the story after the reader has learned more of the character of Melanctha. As the character grows and develops throughout the story; as more about her is revealed to the reader, more can be ascertained to be true within that repeated statement. Even with the narration that seems to have a staggering timeline suggests that when this statement is made in the beginning, not much is known beyond the face value of the statement itself despite it describing Melanctha after the fact of most of the events to be told later in the story. However, when the statement is reiterated again later, with some alterations, it is evident Stein is attempting to portray the same character, only under a different light from realizing more information from the telling of Melanctha’s life.