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Title: Lecture 15 James Joyce


1
Lecture 15 James Joyce
2
  • Modernism
  • (1) The rise of modernist movement
  • Modernism rose out of skepticism and
    disillusionment of capitalism, which made writers
    and artists search for new ways to express their
    understanding of the world and the human nature.
    The French symbolism was the forerunner of
    modernism. The First World War quickened the
    rising of all kinds of literary trends of
    modernism, which, toward the 1920s, converged
    into a mighty torrent of modernist movement. The
    major figures associated with the movement were
    Kafka, Picasso, Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and Virginia
    Woolf. Modernism was somewhat curbed in the
    1930s. But after World War II, varieties of
    modernism, or post-modernism, rose again with the
    spur of Sarter's existentialism. However, they
    gradually disappeared or diverged into other
    kinds of literary trends in the 1960s.

3
  • The characteristics of modernism
  • Modernism amounts to more than a chronological
    description, that is to say, the more recent does
    not necessarily mean more modern. Modernism takes
    the irrational philosophy and the idea of
    psychoanalysis as its theoretical base. The major
    themes of the modernist literature are the
    distorted, alienated and ill relationships
    between man and nature, man and society, man and
    man, and man and himself. The chief
    characteristics of modernism are as follows

4
  • (A) Modernism marks a strong and conscious break
    with the past, by rejecting the moral, religious
    and cultural values of the past.
  • (B) Modernism emphasizes on the need to move away
    from the public to the private, from the
    objective to the subjective.
  • (C) Modernism upholds a new view of time by
    emphasizing the psychic time over the
    chronological one. It maintains that the past,
    the present and the future are one and exist at
    the same time in the consciousness of individual
    as a continuous flow rather than a series of
    separate moments.
  • (D) Modernism is, in many respects, a reaction
    against realism. It rejects rationalism, which is
    the theoretical base of realism it excludes from
    its major concern the external, objective,
    material world, which is the only creative source
    of realism it casts away almost all the
    traditional elements in literature like story,
    plot, character, chronological narration, etc.,
    which are essential to realism. As a result, the
    works created by the modernist writers can often
    be labeled as anti-novel, anti-poetry or
    anti-drama.

5
  • Stream of consciousness
  • Stream of consciousness is a phrase coined by W.
    James in his Principles of Psychology (1890) to
    describe the flow of thoughts of the human mind.
    Now it is widely used in a literary context to
    describe the narrative method whereby certain
    novelists describe the unspoken thoughts and
    feelings of their characters without resorting to
    objective description or conventional dialogue.
    Among English writers, James Joyce and Virginia
    Woolf are two major advocates of the technique.
    The ability to represent the flux of a
    character's thoughts, impressions, emotions, or
    reminiscences, often without logical sequence or
    syntax, marked a revolution in the form of novel.

6
  • II. James Joyce
  • James ( Augustine Aloysius) Joyce
    (1882-1941) was an Irishman born into a Catholic
    family in Dublin and educated at Jesuit schools.
    He was a good student and was intended for a
    priest. But he renounced Catholicism at
    adolescence. He left Ireland and lived in France,
    Italy and Switzerland as "a voluntary exile",
    though his books were all written about Dublin
    because the Irish and Ireland were the people and
    the place he knew best and he believed that by
    writing about Dublin he was at the same time
    penetrating the heart of all cities and all
    mankind. Joyce suffered from an eye disease and
    lived all his life on the verge of poverty, but
    he was devoted to his work as a writer.

7
  • His first important work was "Dubliners' (1914),
    a collection of 15 short stories, all realistic
    and impressionistic studies of the life,
    thoughts, dreams, aspirations and frustrations of
    diverse inhabitants in the Irish capital. He
    wrote "My intention was to write a chapter of
    the moral history of my country and I chose
    Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to
    me the centre of paralysis (i.e. moral hemiplegia
    or spiritual poverty)." In this paralysed city,
    everything stands under the sway of priests. The
    young may dream of escaping from the narrow
    confines, but since even their dreams of getting
    away are shaped in the existing surroundings,
    their efforts often end in bitter resignation or
    fruitless discontent.

8
  • In the story "Eveline", a Dublin girl, weary of
    her tedious life, has the chance to escape to
    Buenos Ayres with a sailor who wants to marry
    her. But this signifies a break with all her past
    life. At the last moment, she clings to the iron
    railing at the docks, incapable of following her
    suitor. These stories are written in accordance
    with Joyce's theory of ' epiphanies" .i.e. deep
    insights that might be gained through incidents
    and circumstances which seem outwardly
    insignificant.

9
  • His first novel, "A Portrait of the Artist as a
    Young Man' (1916), is largely autobiographical.
    It describes the childhood, youth and early
    manhood of Stephen Dedalus, a highly gifted young
    Irishman. After mental torment and inner
    conflict, Stephen abandons Catholicism and leaves
    Ireland making up his mind to devote himself to
    artistic career in exile 'I will not serve that
    in which I no longer believe, whether it call
    itself my home. my fatherland, or my church and
    I will try to express myself in some mode of life
    or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can,
    using for my defence the only arms I allow myself
    to use--silence, exile, and cunning.' The plot is
    symbolic of the relation between an artist and
    society as well as that between art and exile in
    the modern western world. In the novel, there are
    changes of vocabulary, idiom, and prose structure
    to befit the various stages of the hero's
    development from childhood to early manhood, but
    the novel presents no difficulty as prose. It is
    the author's "preliminary canter over the field
    of infinite stylistic adaptability".

10
  • Ulysses" the novel which took Joyce 7 years to
    complete became a centre of controversy on its
    publication in 1922. In plot bearing a parallel
    to Homer's great epic ' Odyssey" which tells of
    the wanderings and adventures of 'the ancient
    Greek hero Odysseus, otherwise called Ulysses.
    Joyce's novel tells of the Wanderings and
    "adventures" of Leopold Bloom, a modern Ulysses,
    during the 24 hours of a single day, June 16.
    1904. There are 3 main characters Leopold Bloom,
    an ordinary Jewish businessman in Dublin, his
    wife Molly, a concert singer, and Stephen Dedalus
    from "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", a
    writer like Joyce. The story is told through
    recording the characters' mental activities by
    the use of the" stream of consciousness" method.

11
  • It shows how Leopold wanders about the Dublin
    streets on his daily business as an advertising
    agent, is tempted by the barmaids and lured by
    the shop--windows, meets Stephen m drunkenness
    and sends him home, but is all the time worrying
    about Molly, his .unfaithful wife, who is
    carrying on an affair with an impresario.
    Boylan--thus the reader may see "a whole
    individual" who is representative of universal
    human existence in modern western world. The
    "stream of consciousness" method was used by the
    author to depict what the inner, mental world of
    his characters actually was. Joyce was free in
    his experiments with the English language and
    grammar. Sometimes he retained the ordinary
    sentence structures, but more often he broke
    through "the fetters of syntax" In a chapter of
    the novel, the language goes through every stage
    in the development of English prose from
    Anglo-Saxon to the present day to symbolize the
    growth of a foetus in the womb. In the last
    chapter, Molly's natural, disconnected flow of
    thoughts in bed is recorded by the "stream of
    consciousness'' style of prose in 8 unpunctuated
    pages.

12
  • "Finnegans Wake" (1939), Joyce's last novel, went
    even further in his experiments with his writing
    method. From the beginning to the end, it depicts
    a dream of Mr. Earwicker, a Dublin innkeeper", in
    a dream language". "In this immense work," a
    critic wrote. "Joyce had written a collection of
    words, some derived from languages other than
    English, and many apparently invented, whose
    significance no single reader can ever hope to
    gain."

13
  • James Joyce was one of the most original
    novelists of the 20th century, whose work shows a
    unique synthesis of realism, the "stream of
    consciousness" and symbolism. His masterpiece
    "Ulysses" has been called "a modern prose epic".
    But he is also the greatest enigma in
    20th-century literature. His admirers have
    praised him as "second only to Shakespeare in his
    mastery of the English language", whereas the
    average readers and not a few reviewers have
    complained that his masterpieces, especially
    "Finnegans Wake", are difficult to comprehend and
    even "unreadable". It may be still early to
    arrive at a final estimation of his literary
    achievement, we had better regard "Ulysses" and
    "Finnegans Wake" as unprecedented experiments in
    a new prose style and a new novel form, the
    verdict of whose real value will be given by
    future literary historians, or by Time, who is
    the most impartial literary historian of all.

14
  • Artistic points of view
  • (1) Joyce is a self-conscious and self-prepared
    artist. He holds that the subject matter of art
    should not be limited only to the sublime
    anything that pleases the aesthetic sensitivity
    can be the subject matter of art. To Joyce, the
    creative artist should be concerned with the
    beautiful. As to how to apprehend the beautiful,
    Joyce quotes Aquinas' notion about the three
    required things for the perception of beauty,
    i.e. wholeness or integrity, harmony or
    proportion, and clarity or radiance.
  • (2) Joyce believes that literary art can be
    roughly divided into three forms, i.e. lyrical,
    epical and dramatic. He also thinks that the
    artist is two in one on one hand, he is an
    unconscious receptor, who reacts emotionally to
    the world around him on the other hand, he is a
    conscious converter, and schemes them in
    different forms.

15
  • (3) In Joyce's opinion, the dramatic form is the
    highest form of art. To his understanding, the
    artist, who wants to reach the highest stage and
    to gain the insights necessary for the creation
    of dramatic art, must rise to the position of god
    and be completely objective.
  • (4) To Joyce, comedy is the perfect manner in
    art. That well explains why Joyce sticks to
    comedy in his writings. And this comic spirit,
    which makes its early appearance in A Portrait of
    the Artist as a Young Man, achieves its great
    flowering in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

16
  • (1) Dubliners (1914)
  • A collection of 15 short stories, it is the first
    important work of Joyce's lifelong preoccupation
    with Dublin life. The stories have an artistic
    unity given by Joyce who intended "to write a
    chapter of the moral history of my country..,
    under four of its aspects childhood,
    adolescence, maturity and public life".
    Likewise, the stories progress from simple to
    complex. Each story presents an aspect of "dear
    dirty Dublin", an aspect of the city's
    paralysis--moral, political, or spiritual. Each
    story is an action, defining a frustration or
    defeat of the soul. And the whole sequence of the
    stories represents the entire course of moral
    deterioration in Dublin, ending in the death of
    the soul.

17
  • (2) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    (1916)
  • (A) Story
  • The story develops around the life of a
    middle-class Irish boy, Stephen Dedalus, from his
    infancy in the strongly Catholic, intensely
    nationalistic environment of Dublin in the 1880s
    to his departure from Ireland some twenty years
    later.
  • In his childhood and adolescent period, Stephen
    experiences and feels the oppressive pressures
    from the moral, political and spiritual
    environment with repeated frustrations and
    futile isolation, he turns to savage physical
    desire as an outlet. This, however, only makes
    matters worse and later at a moment of revelation
    on the seashore, Stephen suddenly realizes that
    the artistic vocation is his true mission and for
    its fulfillment he leaves Ireland.

18
  • (B) Theme
  • The title of this novel suggests a character
    study with strong autobiographical elements. So
    far as the subject matter is concerned, A
    Portrait belongs to the kind of fiction known as
    the Bildungsroman (Novel of Education). This kind
    of fiction is usually about a sensitive young man
    who is at first shaped by excessively powerful
    and oppressive forces of his environment but
    gradually realizes the pressure and rebels
    against it and tries to find his own identity. In
    this sense, Joyce's Portrait can be read as a
    straightforward, naturalistic account of the
    bitter youthful experiences and final artistic
    and spiritual liberation of the protagonist,
    Stephen Dedalus--Joyce's alter ego in the novel.

19
  • (C) Structure
  • The structure of A Portrait is based on the
    three-dimension growth (i. e. physical, spiritual
    and artistic) of a sensitive boy to young
    manhood. In the novel, the author builds up a
    radiant pattern to expand Stephen's growth on
    different levels. By using subjective realism and
    the stream-of-consciousness technique, Joyce not
    only creates a natural pattern of Stephen's
    growing up physically from infancy to manhood,
    intellectually from ignorance to scholarship, and
    in language from simple to complex, but also
    presents a convincing picture of Stephen's
    spiritual development from disillusion to overt
    rebellion and, symbolically, an exploration of
    the evolution of his artistic soul from the early
    fetal stage to the maturity and, finally, to the
    newly-born artist. To avoid slacken structure and
    make the novel more effective, Joyce adopts the
    device of montages to organize his novel.

20
  • (3) Ulysses (1922)
  • As Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses has become a
    prime example of modernism in literature. It is
    such an uncommon novel that there arises the
    question whether it can be termed as a "novel" in
    the first place at all for it seems to lack
    almost all the essential qualities of the novel
    in a traditional sense there is virtually no
    story, no plot, almost no action, and little
    characterization in the usual sense.

21
  • (A) Story
  • Ulysses gives an account of man's life during one
    day, or exactly 18 hours, in Dublin. The three
    major characters are the Blooms, Leopaold Bloom,
    and his wife, Marion Tweedy Bloom (Molly), and
    Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist in A Portrait.
    The story of the novel is carried on more in the
    inner mind of the character than in the outside
    world. The events of the day, and what
    preoccupies the major characters of the novel
    alike, seem to be trivial, insignificant, or even
    banal. Beneath the surface of the events,
    nevertheless, the natural flow of mental
    reflections, the shifting moods and impulses in
    the characters' inner world are richly presented
    in an un-precedentedly frank and penetrating way.

22
  • (B) Theme
  • In Ulysses, Joyce seeks to present a microcosm of
    the whole human life by providing an instance of
    how a single event contains all the events of its
    kind, and how history is recapitulated in the
    happenings of one day. With great varieties and
    minute details, Ulysses embodies a symbolic
    picture of all human history, which is
    simultaneously tragic and comic, heroic and
    trivial, magnificent and dreary. Critics differ
    greatly so far as the novel's theme is concerned,
    some regard it as an encyclopedic satire on the
    degeneration and futility of modern life in
    Western world in which men become rootless,
    lonely, isolated from one another, alienated with
    the society, and frustrated by love. Actually,
    Ulysses is an anti-novel in which modern men are
    portrayed neither as heroes nor as villains, but
    as vulgar and trivial men with splitting
    personalities, disillusioned ideals, sordid minds
    and broken families, who are searching in vain
    for harmonious human relationships and spiritual
    sustenance in a decaying world.

23
  • (C) Structure
  • In Ulysses, Joyce is mainly concerned with his
    characters' psychic processes, which are
    formless. To compensate for this, Joyce makes use
    of several means to superimpose patterns or forms
    on his formless subject matter, such as the
    unities of time and place, Homeric and Biblical
    patterns, symbolic structures, image or
    word-phrase motifs, cyclical schemes, and so on.

24
  • (D) Style
  • Joyce takes great pains to create Ulysses from a
    complex of various techniques and experiments.
    But generally speaking, Joyce writes Ulysses in
    three main styles.
  • The first is Joyce's original style
    straightforward, lucid, logical and leisurely.
    Subtlety, economy and exactness are his
    standards.
  • The second is a style mainly used to render the
    so-called stream of consciousness. The
    incomplete, rapid, broken wording and the
    fragmentary sentences are the typical features of
    this style, which reflect the shifting, flirting,
    disorderly flow of the thoughts in the major
    characters' mind.
  • The third is a kind of mock-heroic style, the
    essence of which lies in the application of
    apparently inappropriate styles.

25
  • Araby
  • North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet
    street except at the hour when the Christian
    Brothers' School set the boys free. An
    uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the
    blind end, detached from its neighbours in a
    square ground. The other houses of the street,
    conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at
    one another with brown imperturbable faces.
  • The former tenant of our house, a priest, had
    died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from
    having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms,
    and the waste room behind the kitchen was
    littered with old useless papers. Among these I
    found a few paper-covered books, the pages of
    which were curled and damp The Abbot, by Walter
    Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of
    Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves
    were yellow. The wild garden behind the house
    contained a central apple-tree and a few
    straggling bushes, under one of which I found the
    late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a
    very charitable priest in his will he had left
    all his money to institutions and the furniture
    of his house to his sister.

26
  • When the short days of winter came, dusk fell
    before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met
    in the street the houses had grown sombre. The
    space of sky above us was the colour of
    ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of
    the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold
    air stung us and we played till our bodies
    glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street.
    The career of our play brought us through the
    dark muddy lanes behind the houses, where we ran
    the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the
    cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping
    gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to
    the dark odorous stables where a coachman
    smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from
    the buckled harness. When we returned to the
    street, light from the kitchen windows had filled
    the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the
    corner, we hid in the shadow until we had seen
    him safely housed. Or if Mangan's sister came out
    on the doorstep to call her brother in to his
    tea, we watched her from our shadow peer up and
    down the street. We waited to see whether she
    would remain or go in and, if she remained, we
    left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's steps
    resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure
    defined by the light from the half-opened door.
    Her brother always teased her before he obeyed,
    and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her
    dress swung as she moved her body, and the soft
    rope of her hair tossed from side to side.

27
  • Every morning I lay on the floor in the front
    parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled
    down to within an inch of the sash so that I
    could not be seen. When she came out on the
    doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall,
    seized my books and followed her. I kept her
    brown figure always in my eye and, when we came
    near the point at which our ways diverged, I
    quickened my pace and passed her. This happened
    morning after morning. I had never spoken to her,
    except for a few casual words, and yet her name
    was like a summons to all my foolish blood. .

28
  • Her image accompanied me even in places the most
    hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when my
    aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of
    the parcels. We walked through the flaring
    streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining
    women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill
    litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the
    barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of
    street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about
    O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles
    in our native land. These noises converged in a
    single sensation of life for me I imagined that
    I bore my chalice safely through a throng of
    foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in
    strange prayers and praises which I myself did
    not understand. My eyes were often full of tears
    (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from
    my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.
    I thought little of the future. I did not know
    whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I
    spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused
    adoration. But my body was like a harp and her
    words and gestures were like fingers running upon
    the wires.

29
  • One evening I went into the back drawing-room in
    which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy
    evening and there was no sound in the house.
    Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain
    impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant
    needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some
    distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me.
    I was thankful that I could see so little. All my
    senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and,
    feeling that I was about to slip from them, I
    pressed the palms of my hands together until they
    trembled, murmuring O love! O love!' many
    times.
  • At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the
    first words to me I was so confused that I did
    not know what to answer. She asked me was I going
    to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no.
    It would be a splendid bazaar she said she would
    love to go.
  • And why can't you?' I asked.

30
  • While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet
    round and round her wrist. She could not go, she
    said, because there would be a retreat that week
    in her convent. Her brother and two other boys
    were fighting for their caps, and I was alone at
    the railings. She held one of the spikes, bowing
    her head towards me. The light from the lamp
    opposite our door caught the white curve of her
    neck, lit up her hair that rested there and,
    falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It
    fell over one side of her dress and caught the
    white border of a petticoat, just visible as she
    stood at ease.
  • It's well for you,' she said.
  • If I go,' I said, I will bring you something.'

31
  • What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and
    sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished to
    annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed
    against the work of school. At night in my
    bedroom and by day in the classroom her image
    came between me and the page I strove to read.
    The syllables of the word Araby were called to me
    through the silence in which my soul luxuriated
    and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked
    for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night.
    My aunt was surprised, and hoped it was not some
    Freemason affair. I answered few questions in
    class. I watched my master's face pass from
    amiability to sternness he hoped I was not
    beginning to idle. I could not call my wandering
    thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with
    the serious work of life which, now that it stood
    between me and my desire, seemed to me child's
    play, ugly monotonous child's play.

32
  • On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I
    wished to go to the bazaar in the evening. He was
    fussing at the hallstand, looking for the
    hat-brush, and answered me curtly
  • Yes, boy, I know.'
  • As he was in the hall I could not go into the
    front parlour and lie at the window. I felt the
    house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the
    school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my
    heart misgave me.
  • When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet
    been home. Still it was early. I sat staring at
    the clock for some time and, when its ticking
    began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted
    the staircase and gained the upper part of the
    house. The high, cold, empty, gloomy rooms
    liberated me and I went from room to room
    singing. From the front window I saw my
    companions playing below in the street. Their
    cries reached me weakened and indistinct and,
    leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I
    looked over at the dark house where she lived. I
    may have stood there for an hour, seeing nothing
    but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination,
    touched discreetly by the lamplight at the curved
    neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the
    border below the dress.

33
  • When I came downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer
    sitting at the fire. She was an old, garrulous
    woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who collected used
    stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure
    the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was
    prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did
    not come. Mrs Mercer stood up to go she was
    sorry she couldn't wait any longer, but it was
    after eight o'clock and she did not like to be
    out late, as the night air was bad for her. When
    she had gone I began to walk up and down the
    room, clenching my fists. My aunt said
  • I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this
    night of Our Lord.'
  • At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in
    the hall door. I heard him talking to himself and
    heard the hallstand rocking when it had received
    the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret
    these signs. When he was midway through his
    dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to
    the bazaar. He had forgotten.
  • The people are in bed and after their first
    sleep now,' he said.
  • I did not smile. My aunt said to him
    energetically

34
  • Can't you give him the money and let him go?
    You've kept him late enough as it is.'
  • My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten.
    He said he believed in the old saying All work
    and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' He asked me
    where I was going and, when I told him a second
    time, he asked me did I know The Arab's Farewell
    to his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was
    about to recite the opening lines of the piece to
    my aunt.
  • I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode
    down Buckingham Street towards the station. The
    sight of the streets thronged with buyers and
    glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my
    journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage
    of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay
    the train moved out of the station slowly. It
    crept onward among ruinous houses and over the
    twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd
    of people pressed to the carriage doors but the
    porters moved them back, saying that it was a
    special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in
    the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train
    drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I
    passed out on to the road and saw by the lighted
    dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten.
    In front of me was a large building which
    displayed the magical name.

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  • I could not find any sixpenny entrance and,
    fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed
    in quickly through a turnstile, handing a
    shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself
    in a big hall girded at half its height by a
    gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and
    the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I
    recognized a silence like that which pervades a
    church after a service. I walked into the centre
    of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered
    about the stalls which were still open. Before a
    curtain, over which the words Café Chantant were
    written in coloured lamps, two men were counting
    money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the
    coins.
  • Remembering with difficulty why I had come, I
    went over to one of the stalls and examined
    porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the
    door of the stall a young lady was talking and
    laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked
    their English accents and listened vaguely to
    their conversation.
  • O, I never said such a thing!'
  • O, but you did!'
  • O, but I didn't!'
  • Didn't she say that?'
  • Yes. I heard her.'

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  • O, there's a... fib!'
  • Observing me, the young lady came over and asked
    me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her
    voice was not encouraging she seemed to have
    spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked
    humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern
    guards at either side of the dark entrance to the
    stall and murmured
  • No, thank you.'
  • The young lady changed the position of one of the
    vases and went back to the two young men. They
    began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice
    the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

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  • I lingered before her stall, though I knew my
    stay was useless, to make my interest in her
    wares seem the more real. Then I turned away
    slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar.
    I allowed the two pennies to fall against the
    sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from
    one end of the gallery that the light was out.
    The upper part of the hall was now completely
    dark.
  • Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a
    creature driven and derided by vanity and my
    eyes burned with anguish and anger.

38
  • (1) Story
  • A young boy, with the dawning awareness of
    sexuality, develops a strong liking toward the
    sister of one of his playmates. She asks him if
    he can go to a charity fair, for she cannot. He
    resolves to go and buy a gift for her. His uncle
    promises to give him the money he needs to go to
    the fair. But on the very day of the charity
    fair, his uncle comes home rather late. The
    waiting of his uncle's coming home torments him
    immensely. Nevertheless, he manages to get to the
    market only to be disappointed by the gap between
    his expectation and the actuality of the almost
    deserted fair. He perceives some insignificant
    events, overhears some minor conversations, and
    finally sees himself "as a creature driven and
    derided by vanity.

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  • (2) Theme
  • Insignificant as the events of the story may be,
    they constitute a meaningful episode of the
    protagonist's life experience that introduces him
    to awareness about the discrepancies between
    expectation and reality, between his pure
    infatuation about love and the reality of
    vulgarity. The story is carried on and organized
    by the quest on the boy's part of his idealized
    childish love, up to the point of the boy's
    recognition of the drabness and harshness of the
    adult world. The story is therefore basically
    about the loss of innocencethrough painful
    experience the boy gets to know the complexities
    of a world that he once thought simple and
    predictable.
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