“O pines, whisper to Jesus. . . Goose-flesh came on my skin though there still was neither chill nor wind.”
Toomer, Jean. “Becky.” Cane, p. 10
The story is revealed to be narrated from the first-person perspective. How does the differ when told in this perspective, as opposed to third-person? It suggests to me the narrator is expression a modicum of guilt. The perspective reads as a confession of his and the community’s culpability in the ostracization of Becky and her sons.
“She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now. . . this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.” Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf, p. 10
We can see Mrs. Dalloway/Clarissa’s internal narration show her struggles with identity. Specifically, she questions her identity in relation to her marriage. Who is she now that she is married to Richard? What parts of her identity survived marriage? What makes her Clarissa, as opposed to Mrs. Dalloway? I hope to see more tug-of-war between those two identities as the book progresses.
“And it was the din of all these hollowsounding voices that made him halt irresolutely in the pursuit of phantoms. He gave them ear only for a time but he was happy only when he was far from them, beyond their call, alone or in the company of phantasmal comrades.” Joyce, pp. 70
As a growing boy, Stephen faces socialization from many different sources, all attempting to educate him to act the way they want. He appears reticent to listen to them, but who does he want to be in his society and culture?
“He grew vivid, in the balmy air, to his companion, for whose deep refreshment he seemed to have been sent; and was particularly ingenuous in describing how recently he had become acquainted, and how instantly infatuated, with the only man who had put flesh between the ribs of an art that was starving on superstitions.”
James, The Middle Years, 342
Doctor Hugh, a young man, holds great admiration for Dencombe’s work as a revitalization of the art form. Does this imply that the newer generation of readers were longing for a flight from tradition with new and exciting prose?