A Link to the Past

I sat beside her through the night. I saw the dawn steal over Washington. The Capitol dome looked like a gray ghost ship drifting in from sea. Avey’s face was pale, and her eyes were heavy. She did not have the gray crimson-splashed beauty of the dawn. I hated to wake her. Orphan-woman… (88)

Toomer, Jean. Cane. Liveright, New York, 1923. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015000252448&view=1up&seq=8

The narrator in the chapter “Avey” meets up again with Avey after five years since their last interaction. The narrator made note of how Avey garnered the attention of various men during his time in Washington, D.C. Here, many of the men who strived for her attention had now either forgotten or dismissed her (including Ned). Her appearance here is representative of the newfound realization the narrator has of her. He has grown and she is lost, but they somehow still came across each other.

Extensive Detail in Hammett’s Maltese Falcon

Tom, scowling, opened his mouth, closed it without having said anything, cleared his throat, put the scowl off his face, and spoke with a husky sort of gentleness: “It’s tough, him getting it like that. Miles had his faults same as the rest of us, but I guess he must’ve had some good points too.”

Hammett, Dashiell. Maltese Falcon. New York, Vintage Books, 1972. San Juan Unified School District. https://www.sanjuan.edu/cms/lib/CA01902727/Centricity/Domain/334/The%20Maltese%20Falcon.pdf. PDF File. 8.

Although this specific excerpt was chosen, it’s representative of Hammett’s heavy usage of minute detail in tandem with dialogue. Characters are always speaking with another and their mannerisms are detailed in the text prior to them speaking. The sequential order of having Tom scowl, not scowling, then calming down leaves no room for the reader to think of the mannerisms of the characters for themselves. Instead, it feels like Hammett is instructing the reader on how to interpret the mannerisms of his characters.

Mediocrity in the Aftermath of Service

To love makes one solitary, she thought. She could tell nobody, not even Septimus now, and looking back, she saw him sitting in his shabby overcoat alone, on the seat, hunched up, staring. And it was cowardly for a man to say he would kill himself, but Septimus had fought; he was brave; he was not Septimus now (Woolf 33).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. 1925. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015013962207&view=1up&seq=1&skin=2021

Suffering from the aftermath of the Great War, Septimus has sought refuge from the horrors he has dealt with by retreating into his own mind. Despite coming back a victor, he has been reduced to nothing more than a shell of the man he once was. How does Woolf use Septimus’ POV to relate how the other characters interact with everyday happenings versus how he sees them? Why the criticism and hopelessness? How does his character add onto the experience of others?

Forsaking an Idealistic Worldview, a Child’s Angle

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Joyce James. Dubliners. Grant Richards 1914, 41.

The narrator throughout the chapter “Araby” can be seen observing his dull, cyclical surroundings in North Richmond and contrasting it with the promise of a newer/more exotic experience in a bazaar told to him by a girl whom he has a crush on. Here, his realization that both the bazaar and the girl were more idealistic in his mind than what could ever be found in person propelled him to give up whilst garnering self-hatred. From his perspective, adulthood was seen to be as dull as it was disappointing. Each adult, whether it be his teacher, parents, or young lady at the stall, all vexed him in different ways. Could the narrator’s perspective be a one-to-one image of what’s actually happening? Or is this perspective through a biased, childish lens, thus reaffirming the dullness of the world around him?