“We sat there holding hands. Our palms were soft and warm against each other. Our fingers were not tight she would not let them be.”
Toomer, Jean. Cane, 60
I found this recurring idea of holding hands interesting as it seemed to be an accurate representation of their relationship. The narrator seems to have very intense feelings about Avey but she appears very closed off. It’s as if there was a wall standing between them. In the end just like their hand holding the relationship ends up being a very superficial and not very tight.
“He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.”
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, (11)
This sentence from the opening paragraph of the book struck me the first time I read it but going back to it after reading a few chapters made it even more interesting. Comparing Sam Spade as “satan” seems a bit strong but it is still an interesting description. Even after reading only a few chapter we get the sense Sam Spade is a very morally grey character. He has an affair with his partner’s wife and the way he sometimes treats women is questionable at best.
“I gave Anse the children. I did not ask for them. I did not even ask him for what he could have given me: not-Anse. That was my duty to him to not ask that, and that duty I fulfilled.”
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (174)
As a woman Addie did not have a choice to marry. She had children because that’s what was expected of her as a wife and according to old traditions her children belonged to her husband.
“One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some distant lamp of lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to flip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring : ‘O love ! O love !’ many times.”
Joyce James, Dubliners. Grant Richard 1914, 36
I found this passage interesting for contrast it brings to the story. At this point the protagonist just spent the last paragraphs describing his feelings for a girl. So, this passage of him going to this room where a priest died feels very out of place. Especially, since he came to this room because of his feelings and how overwhelmed he felt.
Yet we could somehow find a similarity in the mystical energy that seem to be found in this place and the way this love is portrayed, with this girl being so mysterious in the eyes of the narrator.
“He thought of the fairytale of science and charmed himself into forgetting that he looked for a magic that was not of this world.” (James 348-349)
This sentence is the one that struck me the most. First of all, because of how poetic it sounds but also for the meaning it holds and the beauty in it. I loved the expression “fairytale of science” in particular. It is an oxymoron yet we can still understand how science could be referred as being a fairytale. Indeed, science can accomplish things that seem impossible, especially at the time when science was still far from being what it is today, the barrier between science and magic sometimes feels very thin.