Attention to character detail

Hammett, Maltese Falcon

“She was a lanky sunburned girl whose tan dress of thin wool clung to her with an effect of dampness. Her eyes were brown and playful in a shiny boyish face…” (1)

“The lieutenant was a compactly built man with a rounded head under short-cut grizzled hair and a square face behind a short-cut grizzled mustache…” (17)

How Stephen conceptualizes the world

“A vague dissatisfaction grew up within him as he looked on the quays and on the river and on the lowering skies and yet he continued to wander up and down day after day as if he really sought someone that eluded him.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Pg. 55)

Stephen is beginning to grow into a young man, and with that growth it is leading him to discover more about his expanding feelings about life and his relationship with other people. As Stephen is growing he has become more of an observer, rather than just escaping into his own imagination. The scene above describes him taking in, with restless wonder, the streets of his new home. I thought it intriguing how he still resides to find meaning in his imagination. Here Stephen imagines what it would be like to really be searching for someone of his affection. One that could reciprocate his new found feelings of desire and want. He urges him forward, even with his growing discontent with his new feelings.

the consequences of infatuation

“‘You chose to let a fortune go?’ ‘I chose to accept, whatever they might be, the consequences of my infatuation,’ smiled Doctor Hugh.” 

James, Henry. “The Middle Years,” (354).

It is interesting how the “good or bad” of a consequence is only measured in how much value you place on what you become enthralled with. Doctor Hugh does not describe the consequences of his infatuation as bad, more matter of fact that he had such adoration and love for Dencombe’s writing, that choosing the literature, over the fortune, was well worth any perceived negative outcome. To him the choice was easy. It is interesting to consider how, although in reality the Countess’s fortune may have more societal value, Doctor Hugh’s personal value shifted with his infatuation. And in the end he smiles when he tells Dencombe he chose him over the fortune.