Work Overload

“But he worked unconsciously. This forgetfulness or emptiness persisted in him over long periods. It was a sort of insensitivity created in him by the kind of work he had to do, a tough skin which must be a shield against all the most awful sensations” (Anand 13).

I feel like the narrator wants us to feel sympathy toward Bakha here because of the emphasis on his mental state. The external narrator tells us what he feels while he works and how beaten down he feels. This on top of the abuse he already faces from his father shows us that the narrator wants us to see the entire picture so we can understand why Bakha acts the way he does.

Tea Cake is Poor

“Dat long-legged Tea Cake ain’t got doodly squat. He ain’t got no business makin’ hissef familiar wid nobody lak you. Ah said Ah wuz goin’ to tell yuh so yuh could know” (Hurston 102-103).

This sticks out to me because this way of thinking hurts both men and women. It hurts poor men because they aren’t seen as capable enough to be loved, while it hurts women because they’re made to believe that only a man with property and money is the only option in terms of love. Having wealth does not mean that a person will treat someone fairly.

A Bad Break

They shook hands and Luke said: “Say, that’s too bad about Miles.”

“Uh-huh, a bad break.” Spade jerked his head to indicate the boy on the divan beside him. “What do you let these cheap gunmen hang out in the lobby for, with their tools bulging their clothes?” (pg.95)

The quick change of subject makes him seem very uncaring, especially for someone that he was partners with. You’d think he’d at least say more about Miles or try to comment on it further, but instead, he just pivots to the current situation at hand.

A Corpse?

“Poor old Mother! Well, thanks awfully for tellin’ me. I think I’ll send Bunter to the sale and toddle round to Battersea now an’ try and console the poor little beast. So- long“ (pg. 3)

I feel like this is a very casual response to someone finding a body. Especially with the use of “toddle round.” I think the typical response would be to be more shocked and try to console his mother as much as possible.

Just Get Up, You’re Fine!

“Once you stumble, Septimus wrote on the back of a postcard, human nature is on you. Holmes is on you. Their only chance was to escape, without letting Holmes knowl to Italy— anywhere, anywhere, away from Dr. Holmes” (pg. 90).

This passage shows the clear difference between Septimus and Dr. Holmes in terms of mental health. Woolf wants us to see how afraid Septimus is of the world, while also showing how out of touch people can be about mental health if they haven’t experienced it themselves. You can’t make a mistake or be weak without people putting pressure on you to be better.

Failed Recollection

“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. He had forgotten what his book was about.” (James 337)

Last sentence can allude to how we can forget pieces of our own life, especially if we are suffering in the present. First sentence relates to how we can look back on fond memories but forget the painful parts.


James, H. (1893). The Middle Years. 335-355.