Dialogue and Thought

“Sohini now realized that the woman was angry. ‘But I haven’t done anything to annoy her,’ she reflected. ‘She herself began it all and is abusing me right and left. I didn’t pick the quarrel. I have more cause to be angry than she has!’

‘Bitch, why don’t you speak! Prostitute, why don’t you answer me?’ Gulabo insisted.

(Anand p. 18).

In this section, single quotation marks are used to denote both Sohini’s internal thoughts and Gulabo’s external speech. Sohini’s discourse is reported in the same way as Gulabo’s and Sohini’s is not initially clearly laid out as being internal and quiet. However, based on Gulabo’s reaction, it is notably clear that Sohini did not actually speak. This convention may be used to imply a lack of meaningful difference between external and internal dialogue for Sohini, since she is described as ‘innocent and honest’. This could also be an implication for all of the characters, since many of them seem to very easily ‘betray’ and reveal their hidden feelings.


Free Expression and Flight

“His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk’s or eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that called him to the pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (p. 143).

The early portions of this chapter are marked by Stephen dedicating his time and efforts towards rejecting physical senses and existence and forcing himself to focus on the sanctification of his soul and his deliverance to heaven. He avoids all positive sensory stimulation and strictly limits his expression, such as by not controlling his voice to be unnecessarily loud or joyful in song or whistle. Stephen turning away from nature and vibrance is reflected in the style of this portion, which uses dull and somewhat morbid language, especially when Stephen reflects on his future in religious profession. After realizing that his purpose cannot lie in priesthood and accepting that he cannot avoid “falling” religiously, Stephen’s world, and the style of the text, becomes vibrant again, and he begins to remember the joy of sensory observations and free expression. This builds up to a climax in which Stephen feels the urge to cry out in triumph, and feels as though he is flying freely, in stark contrast to his earlier muted, restricted expression and sensation.

Framing of Setting

“Then his companions, going a little further, waited for him to come up, poking their parasols into the beach, looking around them at the sea and sky and clearly sensible of the beauty of the day.”

James, “The Middle Years,” p. 336

The description of the two ladies as “poking their parasols into the beach” reminds me of the description of Mrs. Dalloway plunging “at Bourton into the open air” from the passage from “Mrs. Dalloway” that we read in class. The writing for both of these segments seems to frame the characters as ‘breaking into’ their settings rather than just framing the settings as backdrops for the character to exist in. And rather than expositing the natural features of the setting, James describes how the two characters are experiencing their time and place, and how they appreciate the natural beauty surrounding them.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (London: Hogarth, 1925), 3.