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Posts Tagged ‘Novel’

“I scanned my eyes furtively over my fellow patients. There was a woman in about her late 40s, with soft, dewy-looking eyes that seemed like they were ubiquitously watery, like she was always on the verge of tears. She was sitting there, looking down and fidgeting with her hands. Mid-life crisis? Anxiety? Depression? Or the latter two as a result of the former, or vice versa? You never can tell, these emotional and psychological things can get quite tricky. At least, I think so. If biological factors get in there too, it gets trickier. You never can tell where the personality ends and the illness, disorder, disease, whatever you wanna call it, begins. That’s the real reason why people find mental stuff so scary, I tell you. That’s the real reason why they don’t understand it, don’t want to understand it, or are in denial when someone they love or know begins to crumble underneath the weight of whatever chaotic mess the chemicals in their brains become entangled in. Because when the invisible, phantom illness begins to mesh with the personality, and you can’t tell one from the other anymore, people begin to define you by the phantom. The phantom becomes you.”

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Arise

From the ashes of decayed ink and dusty fluttering leaves

From the long-dried pages

Of hesitant words hiding behind their walls of fear

Tiptoeing in trepidation from page to page

Of lines riveting in a glance and mortifying the next

Should I? Will I? Can I? –

I hope they can survive

Past the cages of my brain

And onto a stage, a world, a page,

A seat on a bench next to a stranger,

From which they can communicate

(And whisper and laugh and tell their tales – and even scream if necessary)

With the creatures of the realm of three dimensions –

A world itself not always so dreary.

What realm, I pray, do the creatures of thought exist in?

If not one or two or three or more?

They must, surely, if we can weep and laugh with them and for them

And converse between one dimension and another,

Between worlds and realms vying to comprehend

How? What? Why?

The ever-revolving, ever-inscrutable questions of existence

The ever-elusive, ever-boggling wonders and horrors

Of the nature of man

 

Arise,

And beat on, whether you stumble or stagger or falter

Onto the next word, the next line, the next page

And the next

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With the capacity to reflect and refract the various elements of ourselves and of the time, space, history and context within which we reside, heteroglossia is defined by Bahktin as the multiplicity of the “voices” within language. This multiplicity is highly evident in the significantly distinguishable narratives of Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. The first narrative, through Watson’s voice, possesses a quality inflected with intellectual and scientific language. From the first sentence of the novel, Watson is introduced as a scholarly doctor of medicine, and Sherlock Holmes himself is introduced through the initial image of a scholarly student enthusiastically engrossed in his chemistry experiment. Throughout the rest of the narrative, Watson’s disposition towards the traditionally logical and rational becomes evident in his outburst of scorn (“what ineffable twaddle!”) at reading Holmes’ “Science of Deduction and Analysis,” which he considers to be so irrationally reasoned that he thinks, “So startling would his results appear to the uninitiated that…they might as well consider him as a necromancer” (14). His attempts at engaging Holmes in conversation on topics of literature, philosophy, astronomy, the Solar System and Copernican Theory, further establish the language of intellectual, rational and scientific inflections through his voice. The Copernican Theory having been developed in the 16th century, Europe was still basking in the glow of the Scientific Revolution, which is precisely the historical context reflected through the language which Doyle employs. Even Holmes, even as a seeming “necromancer,” and even with his lack of knowledge and interest in astronomical science, possesses a shrewdly scientific, rational lens through which he develops his “Science of Deduction and Analysis.”

In comparison to this first narrative of 19th century England, the second narrative’s language is significantly distinguishable. The language with which Doyle depicts the landscape of the second narrative can be described as one of the lawless Wild West. The imagery of Westward migration and expansion which the Mormons are in the process of undertaking when we are introduced to them, creates the sense of a whole new world through the language of the second narrative, which is more significantly focused on the nature and landscape of the arid, deserted “land of despair” (57) – something not even imagined in the Britain which readers had just departed. The language of this narrative, then, reflects the context of the 19th-century America, which, through such language, Doyle seems to convey as the opposite of the 19th-century London depicted in Watson’s narrative: whereas 19th-century London is fixated and established in advanced scientific endeavors and disciplines, America is still in the process of expansion and of establishing itself as a stable, law-abiding country. The hostile depiction of newfound religions in America also further this distinction between the “scientific” London and the “irrationality” of the Wild America, as religion is obviously portrayed by Doyle as the opposition to the rational.

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