Untouchable

“The girl was a potential rival. Gulabo hated the very sight of her innocent, honest face, though she would not confess, even to herself, that she was jealous of the sweeper girl. But she unconsciously betrayed her feeling in the mockery and light-hearted abuse which she showered on Sohini. The consciousness of that prettiness which people’s compliments stimulated in her, made the young woman vaguely surmise it all”

Anand, Mulk R. Untouchable. London, England New York, N.Y: Penguin, 1986. Page 17.

Interestingly, Anand shows that there are very little that separates the two girls – in fact, Sohini was superior to Gulabo. Yet class works to both cement Sohini’s subjugation and to ease Gulabo’s insecurity.

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Jason Park

“Tea Cake had a brain-storm. Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss. Everybody talked about it next day in the fields”

Hurston, Zora N. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1937. pp. 147

Tea Cake feels pressure by this new community to oppress Janie even though it is not like him to – revealing his fragile masculinity/insecurity.

Cane – Jason Park

“Black horses drive a mower through the weeds, And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds, His belly close to ground. I see the blade, Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade.”

Jean Toomer, Cane, Liveright Publishing, 1923 New York. Page 6.

Toomer sandwiches a series of poems in-between narratives in order to stylistically express black life in the south. This poem follows an AA, BB pattern of rhyming, adding to the cyclical effect that is introduced in the last line. However, the punctuation adds tension to this – the frequent use of commas makes the sentences choppy and disjointed, which appears to be a commentary on the inability to process the violence that is echoed in the land itself from slavery.

Whose Body Commonplacing

“We have Levy with a past, and no future, as it were; an unknown vagrant with a future (in the cemetery) and no past, and Freke stands between their future and their past.”

Sayers cites the social problem of jealousy to be the cause of the murder in a deeply philosophical and wordy sentence that is reminiscent of typical noire hardboiled crime fiction novels.

Sayers, Dorothy, L. “Whose Body” Dover Publications, INC. Mineola, New York 2009. Page 112

As I Lay Dying

“My mother is a fish”

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. First Vintage International Edition, New York, October 1990. Page 84

It was tempting to write about Darl and his possible connection to Faulkner, however Vardaman as a character fascinates me. His childlike innocence is reflected in the simplicity of language and sentence structures which makes it more difficult for him to process the seemingly hopelessness of life and living.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“God bless my father and my mother and spare them to me! God bless my little brothers and sisters and spare them to me! God bless Dante and uncle Charles and spare them to me!”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man, ed. Jeri Johnson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000), 15

The juxtaposition between Stephen’s prayer and the prefect struck me. The latter is very formulaic whereas Stephen’s prayer is childlike and innocent in nature. This also contrasts with Stephen’s development in his thinking and consciousness as he gets older, especially when he engages with religion or even sexual relationships.

The Middle Years

“What, moreover, was the use of being an approved novelist if one couldn’t establish a relation between such figures; as, for instance, that the young man was the son of the opulent matron, and that the humble dependant, the daughter of a clergyman or an officer, nourished a secret passion for him?” 

James, Henry, 1843-1916, and Percy Lubbock. The Middle Years. New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1917, 610.

The most striking thing about this passage and the use of observation is the fact that maybe Dencombe is attempting to find meaning in the meaningless, just like how he is seeking out purpose and fulfillment towards the end of his life.