Tag Archives: humor

Film as escapism

“Some lights went out and the show started–a Tamil film with all known gods in it. He soon lost himself in the politics and struggles of gods and goddesses; he sat rapt in the vision of a heavenly world which some film director had chosen to present. This felicity of forgetfulness lasted but half an hour. Soon the heroine of the story sat on a low branch of a tree in paradise and wouldn’t move out of the place. This portion tired Iswaran and now there returned all the old pains and gloom. ‘Oh, lady,’ Iswaran appealed, ‘don’t add to my troubles, please move on.'”

Narayan, R.K. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 2006. 55.

Similar narrative technique as Joyce?

“Oh quite,” said Lord Peter, grinning at the telephone. The Duchess was always of the greatest assistance to his hobby of criminal investigation, though she never alluded to it, and maintained a polite fiction of its non-existence.

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? 1923. Reprint, New York: Dover, 2009. 29.

Most of the novel is driven by characters’ dialogue and readers discover details of the case at the same time as Peter. When an omniscient narrator does step in, the tone seems ironic and humorous. This resembles the narrator in Joyce’s Portrait because we also don’t know if the narrator agrees with Stephen or is gently mocking him. This passage resembles Lord Peter’s style of speech in that Peter would also resort to the most drastic descriptions, such as describing his mother’s unknowing aid as the “greatest assistance.” He might also sugarcoat negative aspects of people and refer to his mother’s coldness towards his career as maintaining a “polite fiction of its non-existence.” However, the narrator maintains some distance by referring to Peter’s mother as The Duchess. We know it is not free indirect discourse as Peter refers to his mother as “Mummy.” In this way, the narration technique resembles Joyce’s because the narrators adopt the voice of their characters but maintain a humorous and critical distance.

Whose Body?

“After she’ad put Mrs.Thipps to bed, she’ad slipped out to go to the Plumber’s and Glaziers’ Ball at the “Black Faced Ram” Mr.Williams ‘ad met ‘er and brought ‘er back. E’could testify to where she’s been and that there wasn’t no ‘arm in it.”

Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? 1923. Reprint, New York, Dover, 2009, p66.

The use of a more slangy language, or at least not proper English, differs here from the one in Melanchta. It is too used to give speech to a person of a lower class, a domestic, as in Melanchta it is used for people considered, at the time, as lesser. But it is used mostly for humor, and do not aim at disturb our comprehension of the plot as it confusing in Melanchta. It is rather use to accentuate and caricature in a humorous way the features of ther personality as it quickly gives us an impression of Grace Horrocks ‘s character, a rather excitable, simple domestic.  The way her deposition -no proper dialogue features and it is one continuous speech- is transposed just shows that she is not that important.

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.