“Because they really loved Janie just a little less than they had loved Tea Cake, and because they wanted to think well of themselves, they wanted their hostile attitude forgotten. So they blamed it all on Mrs. Turner’s brother and ran him off the muck again” (Hurston, 190).
Chapter 20 opens up with more of the same thread that’s run throughout the novel up to this point: people as a collective (crowds) have no sense of responsibility and have an immature view of the world. The generic crowd’s view is immature insofar as they care so deeply for outward appearance (“wanted to think well of themselves”), but take no care in trying to change what they are internally. Like Joe and Tea Cake, the crowd’s confidence is external and is sustained by hating on people different from them, i.e. Janie.
“He sees Art, curiously. Art is a purple fluid, carbon-charged, that effervesces beside him. He loves art. But is it not queer, this pale purple facsimile of a red-blooded Norwegian friend of his? Perhaps for some reason, white skins are not supposed to live at night.” Cane, p. 99
I found the “Bona and Paul” story to be a contemplation on the validity of multicultural fraternity and solidarity, mostly because (a) it follows a black man named Paul and also features his white friend, a man named Art & (b) on the intermission-esque page that follows the story’s ending says “to Waldo Frank”, a white man who Toomer shared a friendship with. The real-world parallels to these two men in the story seem obvious enough to me, and the constant mingling of different races and cultures throughout the book (whether they be from the perspective of a white woman or a black man) lends credibility to the idea that multiculturalism is what links all of these stories together.
“Mr. Joel Cairo was a small-boned dark man of medium height. His hair was black and smooth and very glossy. His features were Levantine. […] The fragrance of chypre came with him” (Hammett 42).
I cut out the middle of this quote, as the description takes up an entire paragraph, but the whole thing should be read to get an estimation of Hammett’s narrative style, at least when it comes to describing characters. He introduces us to these characters first by illuminating their appearance and going off of their actions with regard to said appearance from there. For example: if someone were to walk into Spade’s office with a hat, a pensive character with something to hide may fidget with the hat before delivering their dialogue, said dialogue being preceded by almost an entire paragraph of detail of the external world (showing), as opposed to outright revealing the character’s thoughts (telling).
“Ah,” I says. “Have you got female troubles or do you want female troubles? If so, you come to the right doctor.” Them country people. Half the time they dont know what they want, and the balance of the time they cant tell it to you” (p. 243).
MacGowan, coming from a more urbanized environment than Dewey Dell, counts her rural background against her- she’s seen as a hick. His piggish language and underhanded advances toward her are also indicative of the unequal gender dynamic of the time. To MacGowan, Dewey Dell already has two strikes against herself, and her desperation makes her even more exploitable. Dewey Dell’s situation also highlights how her pregnancy and the desire to get rid of it has pigeonholed her- sex is how she got into her predicament, and she is further exploited by MacGowan to a similar end.
“He could not feel. As he opened the door of the room where the Italian girls sat making hats, he could see them; could hear them; […] but something failed him; he could not feel” (Woolf 85).
Septimus’ past is illustrated as normal prior to the war and even during it, but afterward, as early as his stay in Milan after the signing of the armistice, he begins to feel different. The war is presented as having a desensitizing effect on Septimus, a man who enjoyed literature (Shakespeare in particular), and cared enough about England to go to France to defend it. This desensitization brings about a constant doubting of the reality of any given situation for Septimus- he felt he had a safe refuge among the Italian women making hats, yet in his next thought, he believes he cannot stay. The narrative’s illumination of his past is evidence of a then-newly-arisen sense of doubt and second-guessing of and in the world around him, including of the people in it.
“At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It would be a splendid bazaar, she said; she would love to go” (Joyce 2).
I found this passage humorous because from the young male narrator’s perspective, this girl speaking to him is described as some joyous event that has been a long time coming, but when I consider if Joyce gave the girl’s perspective as well, I think it would seem quite ordinary. This use of perspective can create a feeling of mystery and generate speculation on the part of the reader about what isn’t shown: even what I said about the young girl’s hypothetical perspective is merely conjecture.
“She seemed to scrutinise him, to challenge him, to say, from general spite: ‘What have you got to do with us?'”
James, Henry. “The Middle Years”. Henry James: Complete Stories: 1829-1898, ed. John Hollander and David Bromwich, The Library of America, 1996, 340
I chose this small quote because I believe this is one of the best representations of Dencombe’s imagination working its way into the narration. As focalized through Dencombe, the narrator (who is or at least feels omniscient) makes these accurate assumptions about characters that sound characteristic of the overthinking and very observant Dencombe. I also think that, despite the narrator being the one that states this, the analysis of this stare that Dencombe witnesses for what may well have been less than a second humanizes him and builds a great amount of character: were it not obvious already, we as readers are given more evidence of him being an overthinker (e.g. the use of seemed denotes a measure of assumption), or more neutrally-stated, deeply observant and analytical.