Tag Archives: Thoughts

Hurston and Language

“There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feeling untouched by thought. Nanny entered this infinity of conscious pain again on her old knees. Towards morning she muttered, ‘Lawd, you know mah heart. Ah done de best Ah could do. De trest is left to you.'”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 2000. Print. pp. 35

Here it is interesting how Hurston juxtaposes the language of the narrator with that of the character’s dialogue and suggests how inner thoughts are not always mirrored in outer speech.

Untouchables…Shift in Thoughts

“But the nights! ‘I must get another blanket,’ he said to himself. ‘Then father won’t ask me to put the quilt on. He always keeps abusing me. He is happy when they call him Jemadar. So proud of his izzat! He just goes about getting salaams from everybody. I don’t take a moment’s rest and yet he abuses me. And if I go to play with the boys he calls me in the middle of a game to attend the latrines. He is old. He doesn’t know anything of the sahibs. And now he will call me to get up, and it is so cold. He will keep lying in bed and Rakha and Sohini will still be asleep, when I go to the latrines.'” (12).

Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 12.

After ending the sentence nights with an exclamation,  the author begins a shift in order to get into the mind of Bakha himself which is filled with direct discourse since he uses I to get his point across along with a tone that is filled with hatred-bitterness for his father based on he way he abuses him. Just by Bakha describing how his father is proud of his izzat, it seems like there is hatred within that sentence just by reading it since his father believes his title gives him some type of upper class status, but in reality it does not since it all depends on the caste system. Soon after the author shifts back to third person narration once more.

Being Vague

“The strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at that time. We were in the harbor and they were all on the pier and at midnight they started screaming. We used to turn the searchlight on them to quiet them. That always did the trick (11)”

I thought this passage seemed modern because of the vagueness of it all. The reader is given this situation without any context clues. The author does not say who “we” is or who “they” are. It is also a stream of consciousness, a train of thought coming from the speaker.

Wimsey the Obvious

“The deuce you have–what an energetic devil you are! I say, Parker, I think this co-operative scheme is is an uncommonly good one. It’s much easier to work on someone else’s job than one’s own–gives one that delightful feelin’ of interferin’ and bossin’ about, combined with the glorious sensation that another fellow is takin’ all one’s own work off one’s hands. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, what? Did you find anything?” (Sayers 29).

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

This passage contains many examples of Wimsey’s dialect, characterized by unfinished present progressive verbs and the act of spouting out all of his ideas as they come into his head. This type of dialogue is different from both Stein’s “Melanctha” and Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. For example, Wimsey’s dialect differs from that of Melanctha because it is rather common or believable, while Melanctha’s dialect is skewed to fit into Stein’s own writing style. Rather that structuring sentences in strange ways like Stein, Sayers merely uses dialects of voice or accents. Furthermore, Whose Body? clearly lacks the free-indirect discourse of a modern novel like Joyce’s and focuses more on direct reported discourse. Because of this, Wimsey’s thoughts come to the reader clearly and easily, unlike Joyce’s style of vague and “infected” narration in which the reader is unsure of whose thoughts he receives.

Whose Body…Sayers

“Thipps asked again to explain, stammers worse an’ says he walked about for a few hours-met a friend-can’t say who-didn’t meet a friend-can’t say what he did with his time-can’t explain why he didn’t go back for his bag-can’t say what time he did get in-can’t explain how he got a bruise on his forehead. In fact, can’t explain himself at all” (27).

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

Sayers uses repetition within this passage specifically using the word can’t, the word did is italicized which is interesting, along with rhythm diction since we see the dashes after every phrase, which gives the readers an auditory sense of someone stammering about the jumble thoughts within their mind.

Whose Thoughts Are These?

“In tender hearted natures, those that mostly never feel strong passion, suffering often comes to make them harder. When these do not know in themselves what it is to suffer, suffering is then very awful to them and they badly want to help everyone who ever has to suffer, and they have a deep reverence for anybody who knows really how to always suffer. But when it comes to them to really suffer, they soon begin to lose their fear and tenderness and wonder. Why it isn’t so very much to suffer, when even I can bear to do it. It isn’t very pleasant to be having all the time, to stand it, but they are not so much wiser after all, all the others just because they know too how to bear it” (page 110).

Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” In Three Lives. 1909. Reprint, New York: Dover, 1994.

Throughout the story there tends to be passages of free indirect discourse various times, however this passage does not necessarily provide free indirect discourse. It is doing quite the opposite. This passage is fairly different & unique to the story. It’s almost as if the narrator is giving some form of insight to the reader. However, the main element that makes this passage so idiosyncratic or distinctive is due to the fact that “I” is used. It is not in quotes, so it cannot be dialogue & it doesn’t seem to reflect a character’s thought process. Can this be the narrator putting their two cents within the story?

Free The Writers

“The writer seems constrained, not by his own free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide a plot, to provide comedy, tragedy, love interest … The tyrant is obeyed; the novel is done to a turn. But sometimes, more and more often as time goes by, we suspect a momentary doubt, a spasm of rebellion, as the pages fill themselves in the customary way. Is life like this? Must novels be like this?”

Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 149. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.

A writer should be able to write based on their own inspirations, experiences, and feelings’ however, instead the readers, the society, and the publishing company are restraining writers from the freedom of their own works. Instead writers are being constrained to write what will entertain the readers and to write what the society allows in literature. Why does writers have to follow a certain standard? Why does society determine what the writer’s can write in their novels? Aren’t writer’s supposed to be the ones with freedom in determining how they want their novel to turn out?