Ratan and the Postmaster

“He longed to remember the touch on the forehead of soft hands with tinkling bracelets, to imagine the presence of loving womanhood, the nearness of mother and sister And the exile was not disappointed. Ratan ceased to be a little girl.”

Tagor, Rabindranath. “The Postmaster.” Macmillan and Co., 1918, pp. 164.

As more than just a companion for his loneliness, Ratan was able to simultaneously take on all of the roles in womanhood that the postmaster was missing – from mother, to sister, and I’m sure to some extent, a daughter he never hand. In this way, Ratan seems to be less of a person to the postmaster than she is just a fluid substitute he can use for his fulfillment.

Janie and Social Context

“The years took all the fight out of Janie’s face. For a while she thought it was gone from her soul. No matter what Jody did, she said nothing.”

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston et al., Harper Perennial, 2000, pp. 76

Janie is someone who’s behavior, and the way she interacts with the people around her, has always been decided by someone else – in this case, it would be Jody. She’s learned to repress her thoughts despite the need she often has to express them, knowing from experience that if she does, she will be berated. In the new town, no one knows her as anything but the mayor’s quiet, amiable wife; inwardly, she hates her status, she has no love for her husband, and there is not a single citizen in their new town who can relate to her plight. Despite the community around her, Janie is alone.

Self-Interest and Morality

“‘You mean if it might incriminate me?’ Spade asked. His voice was placid almost amused, but his face was not. ‘Well, I’ve got better grounds than that, or grounds that suit me better.”

Hammett, Dashiell. “The Maltese Falcon” Vintage Books, 1930, pp. 149.

Wherever self-interest is concerned, morality has no clear place. Everyone seems has come to the general consensus that no one but themselves can be trusted; this mentality has plagued the characters’ morality entirely and has altered this fictional world’s moral code into one one that is self serving, as most are concerned with their own self-preservation than they are perturbed by how many immoral acts they might need to perform to keep themselves protected. Also, it is difficult to trust that anything can remain moral where money is involved.

Addie and Language

“She [Cora] prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words to.”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying. Vintage Books. 1930. pp. 176

Being that words are one of the surest and most reliable forms of communication, it is shocking how disconnected Addie is from meaning. She can’t seem to get a grasp on how to use them, or what words are really meant for, or why they’re used the way they are; she distrusts them, which implies that, by default, there is nothing she can ever concretely believe in. She comes off as cynical and cold as a result. Faulkner gave her the most “proper” vernacular of her family, too,  (besides Darl), which is somewhat ironic.

A Haunted House

“And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. ‘What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?'”

Woolf, V. (1921). A Haunted House. Richmond: The Hogarth Press, Hogarth House. pp. 9

The jumping perspectives in this story were confusing, but I think in this passage the narrator has given us a glimpse of the reaction a reader might have to the idea of ghosts in their house: looking up in fear and wondering if maybe their own house might be haunted. The lives of the ghosts literally jump from the pages and into the world of the reader, and Woolf writes it into the story.

The Middle Years

“It served his purpose to have a theory which should not be exposed to refutation.”

James, Henry, 1843-1916, and Percy Lubbock. The Middle Years. New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1917, 612.

This sentence leads to me to believe that Dencombe finds comfort in certainty; that a bias or an opinion, even if incorrect, is allowed to be so as long as it brings one happiness.