Untouchable

“Get up, ohe, you Bakhya, ohe son of pig! …Are you up? Get up, you illegally begotten.”

Anand, Mulk R. Untouchable. London, England New York, N.Y: Penguin, 1986. Print.

This quote is an example of the verbal abuse untouchables have to face every day. For untouchables, this is a never ending treatment; meaning from the time he wakes up in the morning to the time he goes to bed at night, he will always be looked at as being less than. Those of higher castes cannot stand his sight, not because of anything he has ever done, but because of the position he has been born into. He is only allowed to do low level, quite dirty work, like working in the latrines, and is abused for it day in and day out.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“By the time the people left the fields the procession was constant. Snakes, rattlesnakes began to cross the quarters… Going east going east.” page 155

Animals have evolved to have a natural instinct pertaining to weather related disaster and know when they need to migrate; after being told there was a hurricane coming, the people in the Everglades remained unworried, despite the Indians migrating east. In this paragraph, the animals are migrating east to avoid the storm. This is evolutionary proof that a storm is coming in, and yet Janie and Tea Cake remain in the Everglades.

Fern

“Fern’s eyes said to them that she was easy. When she was young, a few men took her, but got no joy from it. And then, once done, they felt bound to her, felt as though it would take them a lifetime to fulfill an obligation which they could find no name for” (Fern, page 21).

Toomer eloquently yet effectively never fails to describe women and girls as helpless things in which men take the responsibility of caring for them upon themselves. He takes this sexual aspect of the female sex and twists male attraction towards them into a more paternal position than anything else; he describes this need to care, yet really the language in these texts reads like a thinly veiled allusion to the power that comes with sex. Women have this power to trick men into taking care of them, and men have the power to provide for them.

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

“I knew that nobody but a luckless man could ever need a doctor in the face of a cyclone.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage Books, 1985.

Faulkner’s writing style reminds me a lot of Virginia Woolf in his stream of consciousness narration. The awareness the characters have of their surroundings, even though the narration shifts between them, humanizes them to the extent in which every character mentioned is believable. Once Anse sets out for a doctor despite the terrible conditions, the observation made is a realistic thought process towards the situation.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“Pull out his eyes,

Apologize,

Apologize,

Pull out his eyes.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man, ed. Jeri Johnson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000), Page 6

I hate to pull a quote from so early on in a reading, but the childishness of this stuck out to me. The sing-songy way the lines are repeated feel as if Stephen, his childlike interpretation of what his parents said, is narrating rather than an unbiased narrator. Even though it is not yet specified how old Stephen is, the reader can assume he is young; young enough to make a nursery rhyme rhythm out of a parental threat.

Commonplace

“He moved mechanically to where the sand was softer, and ended by plumping down in it to finish his chapter at his ease.”

In the sentence prior to this, the narrator observes the reader ignoring the life  existing around him, choosing instead to only acknowledge the work of fiction he is reading. His movement being described as “mechanically” implies his lack of awareness in his movement, since it comes second to his book. He sits to finish his book as it is easier than standing, rather sitting in that specific spot because he realizes the sand is softer. The sand being softer in that spot feels more like a happy coincidence than a conscious choice.