“They sat in company with the others… 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” (160).
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Amistad, 1937, pg. 160.
In this moment, the people in this community contemplate how strong they truly are. They are trying to gauge their own strengths in a South that is highly oppressive, one that deems them as weak. It seems that deep down, the people are aware of a unique power brewing within them; but what is this power, and what does it mean?
“Oh, no, I wont let that emotion come up in me. Stay down. Stay down, I tell you” (114).
Jean Toomer, Cane. Boni & Liveright, 1923, pg. 114.
As a brief side note, I must say that reading through the commonplace entries posted thus far, I find it interesting that we have interpreted “linkage” differently.
In this excerpt, I see a man whose deep-rooted racial prejudice is soon to get the best of him. Here, Kabnis fights with the urge to express his racism in a manner which older members of his family may exact naturally. Above the urge to fight his own prejudiced impulses, he fights with the man that he hopes to never be linked with; likely running from the backwards thinking of his upbringing.
“A telephone-bell rang in darkness. When it had rung three times bed-springs creaked, fingers fumbled on wood, something small and hard thudded on a carpeted floor, the springs creaked again, and a man’s voice said…” (11).
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon. Vintage Books, 1992, pg. 11.
Hammett’s style of writing has formulated quite the page-turner. There is constantly new information being revealed and retracted, and the storyline is anything but linear. Most notably, though, it reads as if it were written to be made into a film. The quoted passage reads like stage directions in a play, and it is easy for the reader to step into the detective’s shoes to become invested in this saga.
“Then I looked at her. But it’s a hard life they have; sometimes a man…….if there can ever be any excuse for sin, which it cant be. And then, life wasn’t made to be easy on folks” (Faulkner 202).
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Vintage International, 1990, pg. 202.
Dewey Dell enters Moseley’s pharmacy in hopes of buying a medication that will terminate her pregnancy. Moseley vehemently denies this request, going on about how it would not be a respectable thing for anyone to allow this to happen. Although he acknowledges the unfortunate possibility that the father of this child is “halfway to Texas by now” (Faulkner 202), this does not justify–in his mind–the desire to have an abortion. This is inexplicably unfair to the mother of the child, as she should be able to have the total say in matters relating to her body. Inequality in this time is definitively summed up in the idea that a father can shun his responsibilities while the mother is expected to carry the full weight of parenthood.
“Since she was lying on the sofa, cloistered, exempt, the presence of this thing which she felt to be so obvious became physically existent; with robes of sound from the street, sunny, with hot breath, whispering, blowing out the winds” (Woolf 118).
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc., 1925, pg. 118.
Woolf’s stream of consciousness writing style highlights the thought processes of a woman living in a time where one is expected to live solely for others. In this sense, women were, and still often are, at war with society. With this quote, Clarissa Dalloway defies the typical ways that women were expected to view life. An exceptionally personal and remarkably hopeful account is given as this thoughtful protagonist places herself on the front lines against societal forces.
“Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”
James Joyce, Dubliners, “Araby.” Penguin Classics, 1967, pg. 28.
The perspective of the young man in “Araby” is one of newfound infatuation–infatuation with a young woman, life, and enchantment. He is in love with how this drives him until he distinctly realizes that he is allowing himself to be moved by an external source. He believed that he was engaging with an internal desire, but what he once thought to be wonderfully moving is now restricting his happiness.
“He was not afraid of suffering, of death; he was not even in love with life; but he had had a deep demonstration of desire.”
Henry James, The Middle Years, The Library of America, 1996, pg. 345.
Dencombe clearly feels that his youth is slipping away as life passes by. Does he still possess this desire to enjoy life, or is this falling away, as well?