“So she was free and the judge and everybody up there smiled with her and shook her hand. And the white women cried and stood around her like a protecting wall and the Negroes, with heads hung down, shuffled out and away” (Hurston 188).
In this section, Hurston ensures that the reader understands that anyone who is white is living life in easy mode. Rather than the jury finding her guilty and sentencing her to time in jail, there is a sense of approval in the jury. Janie’s murder of Tea Cake is seen as a triumph, but the jury does not know that Janie is mixed race. But since she appears white, she passes. This realization asks the question of identity. Did Janie identify as white at this moment to not get sent to jail?
“Then he dropped the wrist, settled back in his chair, and rolled and lighted another cigarette. His face while he smoked was, except for occasional slight and aimless movements of his lower lip, so still and reflective that is seemed stupid; but when Cairo presently moaned and fluttered his eyelids Spade’s face became bland, and he put the beginning of a friendly smile into his eyes and mouth.” (Hammett, 43)
Hammett uses any opportunity to use highly descriptive language to tell the most minute events in the story. Hammett could’ve simply said that he began smoking but using creative descriptive language keeps the reader hooked and invested in every detail of the action. In the first sentence alone, I can easily imagine how comfortable he is getting and how much he will enjoy the smoke break.
“Jewel always doing something that made him some money or got him talked about, and that near-naked girl always standing over Addie with a fan so that every time a body tried to talk to her and cheer her up, would answer for her right quick, like she was trying to keep anybody from coming near her at all.” (Faulkner, PDF version, pg. 16)
Throughout Faulkner’s novel, we see the gender inequality relationship between men and women. Specifically, on the roles, women play in society of being a mother or being wed. In this passage alone, we see that the women serve as “eye candy” for the men surrounding them. But we also see a bit of feminism because, during this time (the 1930s), women were staying single and actively advocating for women’s rights.
“- one didn’t dislike her ) murmured how, ‘just as we were starting, my husband was called up on the telephone, a very sad case. A young man ( that is what Sir William is telling Mr. Dalloway ) had killed himself. He had been in the army.’ Oh! thought Clarissa, in the middle of my party, here’s death, she thought.” (Woolfe, 289)
Throughout the story, little sprinkles of war are directly mentioned, like in this quote where they say that Septimus was in the army. Or, more indirectly, like when Clarissa contemplates while watching the taxi cabs about how dangerous it is to live each day. Also when Clarissa demonstrates paranoia toward death when she stops and profoundly thinks about Septimus’s suicide and her life. In the quote, Woolf uses Clarrisa’s thoughts to portray how traumatized she is about the subject of death because at the end of the passage, she exclaims, “here’s death,” almost adding personification to the term. Like she is facing death itself.
“At last the children grew tired and sleepy and Joe asked Maria would she not sing some little song before she went, one of the old songs. Mrs. Donnelly said ‘Do, please, Maria!’ and so Maria had to get up and stand beside the piano. Mrs. Donnelly bade the children be quiet and listen to Maria’s song. Then she played the prelude and said, ‘Now, Maria!’ and Maria, blushing very much, began to sing in a tiny quavering voice.” (Joyce, 99)
The entire story revolves around Maria’s life which is portrayed as somewhat depressive. Maria needs to pressure herself to complete every task and make minor mistakes. In this passage, we can tell how the home depends on her. They rely on her so much that she needs to entertain the children. Maria’s fate is uneventful, and it is shown throughout the various tasks she completes.
“The cover of ‘The Middle Years’ was duly meretricious, the smell of the fresh pages the very odour of sanctity; but for the moment he went no further– he had become conscious of a strange alienation.” (James 337)
The reason I chose this short section is that, for some reason, it reminded me of the writing style of another famous author, Daniel Defoe. I felt that Henry James was trying to emulate the lack of full stops or punctuation that Daniel Defoe is known for in his most famous novel Robinson Crusoe. The entire short story is filled with powerful diction, but this particular section uses the word alienation to convey how deeply strange and conflicted the main character felt.