The Postmaster

“After a while Ratan rose, and went off to the kitchen to prepare the meal ; but she was not so quick about it as on other days. Many new things to think of had entered her little brain. When the postmaster had finished his supper, the girl suddenly asked him : ‘ Dada, will you take me to your home ? ‘

The postmaster laughed. ‘ What an idea ! ‘ said he ; but he did not think it necessary to explain to the girl wherein lay the absurdity.”

Tagor, Rabindranath. “The Postmaster.” Macmillan and Co., 1918, pp. 166.


The narrator has a stronger understanding of Ratan’s emotions and thoughts than the Postmaster does. Ratan is struck by the news that her “dada” will be returning home and has no idea what that means for her. She hopes that the Postmaster will take her with him. Ratan has became attached to him and sees him as an older brother (dada) or maybe he became a vessel for her own father. She cannot imagine being away from him or him leaving her. The Postmaster does not see Ratan this way. He sees her as just his servant so it’s absurd that he’ll take her with him.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“The morning road air was like a new dress . That made her feel the apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking the flowers and making a bouquet.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston et al., Harper Perennial, 2000, pp. 58

This passage connects back to Janie’s dream of a marriage that was taken from her when she married Logan Killicks. In the second chapter, Janie had a fantasy that marriage would bring her sexual ecstasy and while watching the bees and flowers. When she married Logan,  she did not have that (end of chapter 3). By running away with Joe Stacks she is chasing her dream of marriage. She is full of hope for a new life.  These sentiments are represented in this passage through the metaphorical new dress (new life and marriage), leaving her apron behind (leaving Logan and her life with him behind her) and the flowers (the sexual ecstasy and love in her new marriage that she hopes for).

The Maltese Falcon

“‘ Listen to me, Gutman. I’m telling you what’s best for all of us. If we don’t give the police a fall-guy it’s ten to one they’ll sooner or later stumble on information about the falcon. Then you’ll have to duck for cover with it-no matter where you are-and that’s not going to help you make a fortune off it. Give them a fall-guy and they’ll stop right there.”

Hammet, Dashiell “The Maltese Falcon”, Vintage Books, 1930, pg 177

As a private detective, Spade should have a moral code to get to the bottom of truth no matter what the cost is. Here we see Spade is more concerned with saving himself by pinning the murders on an “innocent person” rather than being morally sound.

As I Lay Dying

“And I went down on my knees right there. I begged her to kneel and open her heart and cast from it the devil of vanity and cast herself upon the mercy of the Lord.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage International, 1985, pp.168.

Religion is very prevalent in southern culture. Faulkner seems to mock the religious people that live in the south through Cora in this scene. This seems to be a very dramatic scene where Cora may have fallen to her knees in hysterics after learning that Addie has turned her back on God. Cora has a blind following in God. She believes that if Addie prays and opens up her heart to God then she would be saved. In Addie’s chapter, we learn that Addie knows that sin and salvation are just words. I think that maybe the contrast of POV of this particular scene is meant to comment on the contrast between people who pray to God hoping to fix everything and those who understand that being Christian goes deeper than just prayers.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try to slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound  and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of beauty we have come to understand -that is art”

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce and Jeri Johnson, Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 173

Stephen’s philosophy of esthetics seems to be a very long and confusing version of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Art and beauty are synonymous in Stephen’s eyes. If one sees or hears something that they perceive as beautiful they are witnessing art. I’m confused by what Stephen means by the “prison gates of our souls.” Is he saying that the beauty we see keeps our souls locked up or does he mean that the beauty we see sets our souls free?

Haunted House

“Waking, I cry ‘Oh, is this your buried treasure ?
The light in the heart.'”

Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. “Haunted House.” Monday or Tuesday, Hogarth Press, 1921, pp. 11.

“Haunted House” was a difficult story to read because of the switching points of view the narrator used. I had to read it a few different times to understand that there was a ghost couple searching for a buried treasure in their old home. The narrator was the only one who could see and hear them, usually when there was a breach in their consciousness. The narrator’s use of “The light in the heart” piqued my interest because I never heard that phrase before. Light is usually associated with hope and happiness while the heart is associated with love. The buried treasure that the ghost couple was looking for was the love, hope and happiness the lost when the ghost wife died.

The Middle Years

“He thought of the fairy-tales of science and charmed himself into forgetting that he looked for a magic that was not of this world.”

James, Henry, 1843-1916, and Percy Lubbock. The Middle Years. New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1917, 617.

Dencombe knows that he is dying but wants to believe that science aka Dr. Hughes will be able to cure him even though he has given up hope. It’s interesting that he likens science to fairy-tales and magic as if it’s entirely made up concept.