The proletarian subject matter

Also, the old man suggested the removal of my deliberate attempts at melodramatic contrasts of the comic and tragic motifs through which the spontaneous feelings, moods and lurking chaos in the soul of Bakba had been somewhat blurred. Furthermore, the Mahatma asked for the deletion of those clever tricks which had made the experience of the concrete into a deliberate effort at style.

I find it interesting that in this passage the old man notices that the writer is attempting to attach his own characteristics to the main character in his novel. From my understanding there is something about the writer that is bleeding into his work (which the old man deems unfit for the novel about his kind of love). I believe it is the writer’s reliance on eloquent literary tools and storytelling devices that is creating the dissonance between who the main character is and what the writer wants him to be.



The surest proofs meanwhile are disbelieved. One clings desperately to some vain hope, till a day comes when it has sucked the heart dry and then it breaks through its bonds and departs. After that comes the misery of awakening, and then once again the longing to get back into the maze of the same mistakes.

I chose this passage because of its reflection on the situation between Ratan and the Postmaster (Dada). Throughout their interactions, it is clear that Ratan holds the position of a servant, maid, or assistant. However, the Postmaster’s treatment was misinterpreted over time; this created the paradigm in which “the surest proofs meanwhile are disbelieved”.  The following lines of this passage go on to literally define the resolution of their relationship which I found very powerful. There is much more to say about this passage and its message.


” A single room held down to earth… O fly away to Jesus … by a leaning chimney…”


This section is about interracial relations which I find timely and interesting. I can’t remember which, but there is a Neo-slave narrative that I read a few semesters ago that mirrored this informal, yet creative prose.


“For it was very charming and quite ridiculous how easily some girl without a grain of sense could twist him round her finger”

This passage and the proceeding are very indicative of Peter. The way he compares Daisy and Clarrissa is particularly interesting as well. But I found an interesting commonality here between Peter and the protagonist of our recent novel Stephen in this quote specifically. The two seem easily swayed and influenced by the women around them that they find compelling. A lot of their personality is tied up in how they connect with women.

Joyce: Art & Artistry

Her image had passed into his soul forever and no word had broken the holy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul had leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on!

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dover Thrift Editions) (p. 123). Dover Publications. Kindle Edition.


This moment in chapter 4 comes after Stephen realizes that the virgin Mary, no longer has the same effect on him as she once did. After hiding from the Christian Brothers and being teased by some of his peers, Stephen encounters a girl bathing and makes eye contact with her. He compares her to a wild angel of youth and beauty.