“On some evenings, seated at his desk in the corner of the big empty shed, the postmaster too would call up memories of his own home… memories which were always haunting him, but which he could not talk with the men of the factory, though he found himself naturally recalling them aloud in the presence of the simple little girl,”
Tagor, Rabindranath. “The Postmaster.” Macmillan and Co., 1918, pp. 162.
The narrator uses Ratan as an outlet for reconciling difficult memories of his past. Her eagerness to open up about her own troubled upbringing allows for a relationship to form where neither pass judgment on each other. This exchange seems therapeutic in a way, as the narrator is able to articulate haunting thoughts instead of keeping them bottled up, a practice which he would not feel comfortable doing in the presence of other acquaintances or colleagues.
“The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman,”
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston et al., Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006, pp. 25.
This revelatory moment at the end of chapter 3 signifies Janie’s true coming of age in terms of independence. Her Grandmother tried to instill in her that the best way to secure happiness is through the safety and security enabled by marriage. However, she finds that she cannot live a dull life deprived of passion. Therefore she reaches her first truly independent decision to follow her instincts and run off with Joe Starks. The passage makes clear that she is headed towards an uncertain future, somewhere indeterminate off in the distance, but she identifies that it is a risk worth taking to seek out real meaning.
“When a man’s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it. Then it happens we were in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed it’s bad for business to let the killer get away. It’s bad all around- bad for that one organization, bad for every detective everywhere,”
Hammett, Dashiell. “The Maltese Falcon” Vintage Books, 1930, pp. 213-214
Hammett on the surface seems to indicate some semblance of ethics being adhered to which are by contrast often compromised throughout the novel. He implies that detectives are expected to uphold an obligation to their partners as a sort of moral standard. However, this point is quickly revealed to be ultimately influenced by other underlying influences, reputation and bottom line. Being disinterested with seeking justice for your dead partner will cause a detective to lose standing among there peers and call into question their character. Such an indifference will also cause public perception to shift out of your favor, negatively affecting business. Self interest is what drives forward behavior, not principles.
“God knows it’s a trial on me. Seems like it aint no end to bad luck when once it starts,”
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage International, 1985, pp.233
Consistently through the course of As I Lay Dying, Anse uses his religion to deflect blame off of himself or justify his poor decisions as head of the household. In the case of his relationship with Darl, rather than recognize his short comings as a father that led to the creation of their estranged relationship, he instead brushes it off as some sort of punishment from God that is out of his control. Faulker uses Anse as a vessel to present the absurdity and ignorance that religion enables when personal responsibility is taken off the shoulders of the individual.
“The grey block of Trinity on his left, set heavily in the city’s ignorance like a great dull stone set in a cumbrous ring, pulled his mind downward; and while he was striving this way and that to free his feet from the fetter of the reformed conscience he came upon the droll statue of the national poet of Ireland,”
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 151
Stephen reaches the realization that his surrounding environment in Ireland has prevented him from experiencing the full scope of his artistry. In this case, institutions and statues act as the means by which the surrounding public is reinforced in their subdued state of a “reformed conscience”. He finds himself quite literally being weighed down by these outside influences that have prevented his attainment of a free and liberated conscience.
“Still as we approach our own doorstep again, it is comforting to feel the old possessions, the old prejudices, fold us round; and the self, which has been blown about at so many street corners, which has battered like a moth at the flame of so many inaccessible lanterns, sheltered and enclosed,”
Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. “Street Haunting” The Death of the Moth and Others Essays, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1942, pp 35-36.
Woolf spends the majority of the essay discussing the wonders of the illusion of “inhabiting” the minds of others. Through this penetration a person is not bogged down to a single mind. However, to close her essay she concedes that although the ability to temporarily displace one’s self has its benefits ultimately there is a satisfaction associated with our own personal selves that cannot be replicated.
“At such a rate a first existence was too short- long enough only to collect material; so that to fructify, to use the material, one must have a second age, an extension.”
James, Henry, 1843-1916, and Percy Lubbock. The Middle Years. New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1917, 611.
Dencombe reaches the realization that a single life span is much too short to be able to fully express the extent of ones artistic capabilities. He laments the fact that he is unable to extend his life to have the proper amount of time suitable for fleshing out his ideas through authorship. The fear of living an existence unfulfilled or regretful is an emotion which is relatable to humans of all walks of life making the message of this quote all the more impactful.