Narrator in The Hungry Stones

“Then I came under such a spell that this intangible, inaccessible, unearthly vision appeared to be the only reality in the world and all else a mere dream, (Tagore 11).

This sentence is sandwiched by the narrator’s blurring of what is real and what isn’t. The narrator alludes to his own unreliability through his using the word, ‘spell,’ and filtering his sensory experiences through the verb, ‘appear.’ He furthers the implicit assessment of his dreamlike experience here through juxtaposing what is ‘real’ in actuality and what is ‘real’ to him.

The power of nature in ‘Their Eyes were Watching God’

“The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God,” (Hurston).

Janie and Tea Cake stay near the lake despite numerous signs of an impending storm. The storm symbolically cuts out the light and therefore their vision, acting as but one manifestation of God’s supreme power. That God was the apparent catalyst to this darkness explains how their eyes watching dark is, by proxy, their eyes watching God.

Im/amorality of Spade in The Maltese Falcon

“He stepped back holding it up in front of him and blew dust off it, regarding it triumphantly. Effie Perine made a horrified face and screamed, pointing at his feet. He looked down at his feet. His last backward step had brought his left heel into contact with the dead man’s hand, pinching a quarter-inch of flesh at a side of the palm between the heel and the floor. Spade jerked his foot away from the hand.”

This quote has Spade value the the Maltese Falcon so above any conception of morality that he literally steps on a corpse in distraction. Spade is generally described as callous and serious, and his ‘triumphant’ reaction to the esteemed sculpture juxtaposes his otherwise stoic ethos.

Cora’s Limited Perception

“It was Darl. He come to the door and stood there, looking at his dying mother. He just looked at her, and I felt the bounteous love of the Lord again and His mercy. I saw that with Jewel she had just been pretending, but that it was between her and Darl that the understanding and the true love was. He just looked at her, not even coming in where she could see him and get upset, knowing that Anse was driving him away and he would never see her again. He said nothing, just looking at her,” (p.31).

This passage shows Cora imposing her limited perspective onto Darl’s mother, contrasting Darl and Jewel through situations which implicitly show the how their mother feels about each of them.

The Middle Years

What his eyes met this time, as it happened, was on the part
of the young lady a queer stare, naturally vitreous, which made
her aspect remind him of some figure (he couldn’t name it)
in a play or a novel, some sinister governess or tragic old maid.
She seemed to scrutinise him, to challenge him, to say, from
general spite: “What have you got to do with us?”

I chose this section because James first introduces Dencombe as a narrator by proxy through an implicit means. The reader understands reading this, even if vaguely, that Dencombe is transfixing his ideas as a novelist onto the countess. This is more concretely suggested by the excerpt’s connecting her appearance to that of an ambiguous character in ‘a play or a novel.’

The Dead

“He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

The geographical description makes subtle allusions to certain pieces of Irish culture, like the ‘mutinous Shannon waves,’ that could perhaps imply that the colonial and revolutionary history of Ireland is somehow foundational to the country itself.