“Why are we always abused?… They [gentility] always abuse us. Because we are sweepers. Because we touch dung. They hate dung. I hate it too. That’s why I came here. I was tired of working on the latrines every day.” (42) Anand represents the lowest worker as someone who is at the same standing as their task. The worker is esteemed by his line of work. Bakha realizes that his social position and worth as a person is in line with his occupation, he is seen and treated as the very thing he cleans, feces.
Anand, Mulk Raj. Untouchable. Penguin Classics, 2014.
“Sometimes Janie would think of the old days in the big white house and the store and laugh to herself. What if Eatonville could see her now in her blue denim overalls and heavy shoes? The crowd of people around her and a dice game on her floor!… The men held big arguments here like they used to do on the store porch. Only here, she could listen and laugh and even talk some herself if she wanted to. She got so she could tell big stories herself from listening to the rest.” (134)
Hurston, Zora N. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1937. pp. 134.
Janie went from dresses to overalls in her move towards the south. At the beginning of the novel, the Eatonville crowd sneers at her overalls. They have preconceived expectations of Janie, knowing she is the widow of the town’s wealthy mayor. Her time in the South has taught Janie to loosen up, be more comfortable with her self-expression and speech with as she was barred from doing by her Ex-husband and envious judgmental peers back home. Nobody in Everglades knew anything about Janie’s past and were generally down-to-earth themselves which allowed her to express herself more comfortably and humbly.
“Becky was the white woman who had two Negro sons. She’s dead; they’ve gone away. The pines whisper to Jesus. the bible flaps its leaves with an aimless rustle on her mound.
The two boys grew. Sullen and cunning…O pines, whisper to Jesus; tell him to come and press sweet Jesus-lips against their lips and eyes…It seemed as though with those two big fellows there, there could be no room for Becky.” (8-9)
The predicates bookended by ellipses represent fragments of collective consciousness. The perspectives considered in some of these short stories are those of a community. The thoughts of the community are considered and interposed within the text and within the context of the preambling song stanzas of folk tunes. Most tales are loosely to moderately based around these folk tunes just as the stories themselves are rural legends being passed around.
“Inspector Sugg, indeed, considered Mr. Parker rather interfering; moreover, he was hand-in-glove with Lord Peter Wimsey, and Inspector Sugg had no words for the interferingness of Lord Peter. He could not, however, when directly questioned, deny that there was to be an inquest that afternoon, nor could he prevent Mr. Parker from enjoying the inalienable right of any interested British citizen to be present.” (60)
One of the themes particular to any detective novel is the overlapping of public administration, public investigators and private detectives. Here it is shown that Lord Peter and Mr. Parker, private investigators, are interfering with the public inspector Sugg.
“I enter the hall, hearing the voices before I reach the door…so with voices. As you enter the hall, they sound as though they were speaking out of the air about your head.” (19-20)
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. Vintage International, 1990, p. 19-20.
In Joyce’s The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the character Stephen is overly aware of voices, either disembodied or ambient, due to his constant anxiety. Faulkner does the same to project his character Darl’s distress. Faulkner’s character relates to Stephen’s sensitivity of voices/sound when he is unnerved, thinking about his brother choosing to be absent while his mother was hours away from death. When he walks towards his mother’s room (maybe to tell her her son’s going away) he finds that their voices crowd him. Faulkner is utilizing a similar technique as Joyce, underlying the character’s perception of bodiless voices to show that they are anxious or unnerved.
“The day of your first communion was the happiest day of your life. And once a lot of generals had asked Napoleon what was the happiest day of his life. They thought he would say the day he won some great battle or the day he was made an emperor. But he said: ‘Gentlemen, the happiest day of my life was the day on which I made my first holy communion.’.” (Joyce 31)
Reading this passage, I was extremely doubtful if this had actually happened, then it struck me that this was an untrue story told to Stephen (by a grownup, possibly his own parents) to give him the impression that his first day of communion was one of the most imperative and to act accordingly. This is a great example of how parents tell untrue stories to children to make them behave or think a certain way, typically the stories are of ghouls for unruly children. James Joyce is subtly hinting at children’s naivety and boundless impressionability.
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Toronto; Dover Publications, 1994. Print.