“Next morning he was back at Lawley Extension at ten. From his car he made a dash for the sick bed. The patient was awake and looked very well. The assistant reported satisfactory pulse. The doctor put his tube to his heart, listened for a while and told the sick man’s wife, ‘Don’t look so unhappy, lady. Your husband will live to be ninety.’ When they were going back to the hospital, the assistant sitting beside him in the car asked, ‘Is he going to live, sir?'”
“‘I will bet on it. He will live to be ninety. He has turned the corner. How he has survived this attack will be a puzzle to me all my life,’ replied the doctor.”
N. K Narayan. The Doctor’s Word in Malgudi Days. Penguins Classic, 2006. 25
This passage was interesting because in the start of the story it was mentioned that the Doctor only spoke the “truth;” therefore, it made me wonder if the word of the Doctor is the truth. Whatever comes out of his mouth ends up being true even though he does not believe it himself. This makes me wonder if the Doctor has the power in allowing one to live or die. It felt weird that the Doctor was surprised himself that his friend ended up surviving when the Doctor was unsure of his own words. However, once the words that his friend would survive came out of his mouth, his friend spontaneously became better.
“‘Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semitransparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumcised spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien and external as possible?”
Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 150. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.
The page should reflect the truth of life, in that it may be messy and uncoordinated, but still manages to be (somewhat) comprehensive. Good fiction is not so much defined by imitation, as it is by being able to look deeply within ourselves, and using our unique conscious to speak (and write) of the world as we live it and know it.
“In a digression, a parenthesis or an aside, he concedes to the reader that he and this trusting friend are only ‘making believe.’ He admits that the events he narrates have not really happened, and that he can give his narrative any turn the reader may like best. Such a betrayal of a sacred office seems to me, I confess, a terrible crime; it is what I mean by the attitude of apology, and it shocks me every whit as much in Trollope as it would have shocked me in Gibbon or Macaulay. It implies the novelist is less occupied in looking for the truth (the truth, of course I mean, that he assumes, the premises that we must grant him, whatever they may be) than the historian, and in doing so it deprives him of a stroke of all his standing-room.”
James, Henry. “The Art of Fiction.” In Partial Portraits. New York: Macmillan, 1894. Internet Archive. http:// archive.org/details/partialportraits00jameiala.
“Selection will be sure to take care of itself, for it has a constant motive behind it. That motive is simply experience. As people feel life, so they will feel the art that is most closely related to it. This closeness of relation is what we should never forget in talking of the effort of the novel. Many people speak of it as a factitious, artificial form, a product of ingenuity, the business of which is to alter and arrange the things that surround us to translate them into conventional, traditional moulds. This however, is a view of the matter which carries us but a very short way, condemns the art to an eternal repetition of a very short way, condemns the art to an eternal repetition of a few familiar clichés, cuts short its development and leads us straight up to a dead wall. Catching the very note and trick the strange irregular rhythm of life, that is the attempt whose strenuous force keeps Fiction upon her feet. In proportion as in what she offers us we see life without rearrangement do we feel that we are touching the truth; in proportion as we see it with rearrangement do we feel that we are being put off with a substitute, a compromise and convention.”
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction” Major Stories and Essays. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1999. pp. 586.
James discusses the importance of when a novel contains truth verses that which has been fabricated. The genuine portrayal of experiences is how Fiction thrives; it is art in its most relatable form.