“This violent alternating between hope and despair soon wrecked his nerves and balance. At home he hardly spoke to anyone. His head was always bowed in thought. He quarrelled with his wife if she refused to give him his rupee a week for the puzzles. She was of a mild disposition and was incapable of a sustained quarrel, with the result that he always got what he wanted, though it meant a slight sacrifice in household expenses” (93-93)
Narayan, R.T. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Group. 2006. Print. pp.93-94.
This passage was interesting because it shows the difference between man and wife. It depicted how the wife always had to give up something of her own so that Rama Rao could be satisfied. It shows how the wife has to go out of her way to provide him with rupees so he can do the puzzle to win a prize. It depicts how addiction and selfishness brings discomfort to the family other than himself.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, which was published in 1916, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf published in 1925, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying published in 1930, and Untouchable by Anand, which was published in 1935 all explores the stream of consciousness. The stream of consciousness, which was a new concept in the 20th century, proved to be very popular.Throughout 21 years, the device influenced writers to get creative in exploring and expressing the character’s consciousness. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce uses the stream of consciousness to depict the mind of a young man exploring his sexuality. When Stephen is awakened to his sexual needs, “He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld… They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured”, which depicts a typical young man’s coming of age(12). Also in 1925, Woolf uses stream of consciousness to explore the present and the past. We see Peter Walsh’s thoughts towards Clarissa, “Of course I did, thought Peter; it almost broke my heart too…”, which depicts Peter answering Clarissa in his stream of consciousness and recalling memories through it (42). In 1930, Faulkner used the narration of different characters to explore stream of consciousness. He depicts Jewel’s thoughts of being alone with his mother, he repeatedly thinks “one lick less. One lick less…”, which depicts him holding back his frustration in his mind. By this point in history, the authors use stream of consciousness to express the emotions of different characters. Lastly, in 1935, Anand uses stream of consciousness to show the truth behind each characters’ lives. In the beginning, Bakha sees the uniform “And he had hungered for the touch of them. But he had never mustered up courage enough to go up to the keeper of the shop and to ask him the price of anything, lest it should be a price he could not pay and lest the man should find out from his talk that he was a sweeper-boy” (11). Stream of consciousness was used to follow each characters personally, but also to dive into the characters’ process of thinking. Over the years, writers changed the usage to depict their writings vividly, but they all continued to express the thoughts and feelings of the characters.
“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”
Neale Hurston, Zora. Their eyes were watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition, 2006. 1.
It’s interesting how this passage starts off with the division of men and women. It shows how dreams are interpreted to men and how they are for women. The beginning of the book starts off as Genesis when they describe the fall of man and woman. It shows the difference between men and women and stresses on the dreams that they each hold.
“Bakha looked up ad tried to assume a grateful expression, He didn’t have to try very hard, for in a second he seemed to have dwarfed himself to the littlest little being on earth, and followed the Havildar noiselessly, His face was hot with the tea, his teeth shone even in their slavish smile, his whole body and mind were tense with admiration and gratitude to his benefactor. ‘What has happened to change my kismet(fate) all of a sudden?’ he asked himself.”
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. New York: Penguin Group, 2014. Print. 109.
Anand has a way with language. He uses alliteration and foreign language to capture into details the things he wants to portray. The mixture of the foreign language keeps the readers aware of the literary background and the culture behind the texts. Also he uses alliteration such as “littlest little”, “slavish smile”, “tea, his teeth” to emphasize the depth of the images he wants to portray.
“If it had just been me when Cash fell off of that church and if it had just been me when pa laid sick with that load of wood fell on him, it would not be happening with every bastard in the country coming in to stare at her because if there is a God what the hell is He for. It would just be me and her on a high hill and me rolling the rocks down the hill at their faces, picking them up and throwing them down the hill faces and teeth and all by God until she was quiet and not that goddamn adze going One lick less. One lick less and we could be quiet”
Faulkner, William. “As I Lay Dying”. New York. The Modern Library Edition. 2000. p.15 Print.
This passage portrays the narration of Jewel, who seems to be especially more attached to his mother. He is bothered by the fact that Cash is making his mother’s coffin where she can “see” it. He does not want everyone to be with his mother and just wishes to be alone with her. Faulkner uses specific terms to portray his frustration and writes the sentence in ways to portray just how much he was attached to his mother.
“For it was the middle of June. The war was over, except for some one like Mrs. Foxcroft at the Embassy last night eating her heart out because that nice boy was killed…John, her favorite, killed; but it was over; thank Heaven- over”.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.5
It is interesting how Woolf takes Clarissa from the present to the past through the narration. The change is quite subtle that readers do not realize the change until you get further into the past presented in this text. This passage is narrated exactly how a person thinks of the past. We usually state a time, event, and the most memorable thing that happened within that event. Also the phrase “but it was over; thank Heaven- over” implies the change to the present recollecting past memories. It is almost as if Clarissa relived that moment briefly than came back to reality.
“The worst, he said, were the women with dead babies. You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead babies. They’d have babies dead for six days. Wouldn’t give them up. Nothing you could do about it”
E. Hemingway. In Our Time. “On the Quai at Smyrna”. New York: Scribner. 2003. Print. p.11
This passage depicts the relationship of mothers and their children. It is both a horrifying and a loving portrayal about mothers and their babies. It is horrifying because they are holding onto the body of their babies that no longer live; however, it is also loving because they cannot separate from the beings they gave life to. This was an interesting passage because it suggest such a strong bond between mothers and their children.
“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. ”
Stein, Gertrude. “Melanctha.” Three Lives. Dover Publications, New York. 1994. p 110. Print.
This passage is interesting because everyone suffers at one point in life. Some may have suffered in some sort of way all their lives and to some, it is a fairly new concept. Through suffering, people become stronger and they get passionate. However, what effect will that have on people who were never passionate to begin with? For those, they lose a part of themselves and it kills them to even bear with their pain. This experience still play a big part in molding a person to better themselves and develop even the smallest passion for something.
“I’ve seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire; but, by all the stars! these were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men- men, I tell you. But as I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly.”
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness” (Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002), 117.
This passage was very interesting because it describes the three sinful quality everyone possesses as devils. Any and all human are either guilty or capable of greed, violence, and lust. These three qualities are what drives humans to commit greater sins. This passage portrays the three qualities as powerful evils that can turn humans into devils if we let them overtake us. Also, this is a passage is one that makes readers question who is this “weak-eyed devil.” he will be acquainted with. Later on we find out that it is Kurtz that he is talking about which exemplifies delayed specification.
“Life escapes; and perhaps without life nothing else is worth while. It is a confession of vagueness to have to make use of such a figure as this, but we scarcely better the matter by speaking, as critics are prone to do, of reality. Admitting the vagueness which afflicts all criticism of novels, let us hazard the opinion that for us at this moment the form of fiction most in vogue more often misses than secures the thing we seek. Whether we call it life or spirit, truth or reality, this, the essential thing, has moved off, or on, and refuses to be contained any longer in such ill-fitting vestments as we provide. Nevertheless, we go on perseveringly, conscientiously, constructing our two and thirty chapters after a design which more and more ceases to resemble the vision of our minds.”
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 149. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
At first, I did not know what Woolf was stating and I thought it was pretty dumb for her to state to obvious, but as I repeatedly read this passage, I found that what Woolf is stating is quite powerful. Despite the way we want life to turn out, life does not. What we control in life is limited, but writers persevere to write in ways that the vision they have in their minds cannot be portrayed within their books. They cannot bring their vision to words because they are so constrained to a form of writing. What can writers do to express the visions of their minds? How can writers step away from the trending way of writing fiction? Isn’t that why modernism is a new way of approaching writing? They challenge to step away from the traditional and write in a way they can express their visions.