All posts by NL

“Forty-Five a Month” and Perspective

” ‘Has Father come home?’ Shanta asked. She would not take her coffee or tiffin but insisted on being dress first.” (86)

“He had no for time for the child. While children of her age in other houses had all the dolls, dress and outings that they wanted, this child was growing up all alone and like a barbarian more or less.” (87)

Narayan, R.K. “Forty-Five a Month.” Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Print.

This story clearly illustrates the difference between child and adult. Shanta puts her father up on a pedestal just for offering to take her to the cinema. To her, her father is just perfect. However, once the perspective switches to the father’s, the real world stresses or work and difficulties at home are made clear. The reader feels the pity he has for his child, for not being able to give her dolls and pretty things. Narayan does well to show how different one thing can seem to a child and to an adult through the switched perspective.

Narratives and Individualism

The readings in class include  Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925), Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (1930), Anand’s Untouchable (1935), and Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). All four novels and authors have a unique and different take on the narrative form as well as the view of the individual. Both Woolf and Faulkner’s narrative form went from one person to another, which confused the reader at times, but worked with the story. Mrs. Dalloway’s confusion in finding herself, and the chaos surrounding the death of Addie Bundren go hand in hand with the constantly changing perspective and narrator of the story. Anand uses the narrative of Bakha to show that even people in the untouchables are still people with individuality. The opposite is true for Their Eyes were Watching God. Janie, who becomes a woman of high class and wealth, suffers at the hands of gossip and talk of the town. She finds her individualism by coming to the realization that she need not mind anything that is said about her. She just needs to live her life the way she wants and she will be happy.

Language in Hurston

“I god, yeah. But not de house Ah specks tuh lives in. Dat kin wait till Ah make up mah mind where Ah wants it located. Ah figers we all needs uh store in uh big hurry.”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 2000. Print. pp. 40

The language plays an important role in the novel because it makes the dialogue seem more casual as Hurston uses the rural Black dialect, like the story is being told instead on being written in a book.

Darl and first person experience

“Where’s Jewel?” pa says. When I was a boy I first learned how much better water tastes when it has set a while in a cedar bucket. Warmish-cool, with a faint taste like the hot July wind in cedar trees smells…I fling the dipper dregs to the ground and wipe my mouth on my sleeve. It is going to rain before morning. Maybe before dark. “Down to the barn,” I say. “Harnessing the team.”

Faulkner, William. “As I Lay Dying”. New York. The Modern Library Edition. 2000. p.10-11  Print.

Each character narration has a different style in writing. For Darl, the reader follows his flow of thoughts. At this point in the text, his pa had asked him where Jewel was, and within that short pause, the reader experiences what Darl is experiencing. The memories that he recollects and thinks about in what is actually a brief pause between his father’s question and the answer.

Woolf’s Writing Style

“She sat on the floor – that was her first impression of Sally – she sat on the floor with her arms round her knees, smoking a cigarette. Where could it have been? The Mannings? The Kinloch-Jones’s? At some party (where, she could not be certain), for she had a distinct recollection of saying to the man she was with, “Who is that?“” (32-33)

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

The free indirect discourse that Woolf uses so frequently is evident in the passage above. Even if written in third person, the rhetorical questions asked, imitate the style of Clarissa’s voice. It is interesting to see the text go back and forth with absolute third person and that of free indirect discourse.

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.

Detail in Whose Body

“Mr. Parker was a bachelor, and occupied a Georgian but inconvenient flat at No. 12A Great Ormond Street, for which he paid a pound a week. His exertions in the cause of civilization were rewarded, not by the gift of diamond rings from empresses or munificent cheques from grateful Prime Ministers, but by a modest, though sufficient, salary, drawn from the pockets of the British taxpayer. He awoke, after a long day of arduous and inconclusive labour, to the smell of burnt porridge. Through his bedroom window, hygienically open top and bottom, a raw fog was rolling slowly in, and the sight of a pair of winter pants, flung hastily over a chair the previous night, fretted him with a sense of the sordid absurdity of the human form…” (44)

Unlike the contents of other modernist writings we have read, where much is omitted for the reader to figure out, or make their own assumptions of, Sayers’s book “Whose Body?” if very much detail oriented. In contrast, “The Jolly Corner” had descriptions that were meant to make the reader think more. The most descriptive moments in James’s story was in the silence, when nothing was said or told. Sayers uses a plethora of words to make the reader think more. As a mystery novel, the reader is prompted to read more into the words than into the silence. Her detailed descriptions do well to make the reader think.

Commonplace #4

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo…

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Edited by Jeri Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

I chose the passage that begins the whole novel because it being a fictional story puts emphasis on how important Joyce thinks stories are. It points out the significance a story can have on anyone, even a little boy like Stephen and how he relates to baby tuckoo.

Commonplace #3

“I did not betray Mr Kurtz – it was ordered I should never betray him – it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice. I was anxious to deal with this shadow by myself alone, – and to this day I don’t know why I was so jealous of sharing with any one the peculiar blackness of that experience” (172).

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. In Youth: A Narrative; and Other Tales. Rev. ed. Edited by Cedric Watts. Oxford University Press, 2002.

Kurtz’s impression on others is shown here. I think this ties to how the natives saw him as a kind of deity, how he is to never be betrayed.