12 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2021
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    1. Faded jeans. Denim shirts

      (83) As Doug and Citre are coming in, the narrator takes a moment to describe what I assume to be their outer appearance. He achieves this by using two consecutive short verb-lacking sentences, namely - Faded jeans. and Denim shirts. This metaphorical "pause" not only slows the action that is being unfolded but also interupts a more general description about who the characters are that follows them. One simple idea about a conveyed meaning in this stylistic creative choice may have to do with the notion that one's appearance actually not always has to do with his "real" inner character. On the other hand, this may not be true in exactly this sense given that the appearance here corresponds pretty well with what follows about the two guys.

    2. The African Image

      The African Image is a book by E. Mphahlele, a South African author and educationalist. He is one of the most famous modern African authors and has been dubbed the "Dean of African Letters". This book was published in 1962 and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work in it just seven years later. He was also awarded the Order of the Southern Cross by PM Nelson Mandela as well as the Order of the Palm by the French government. Mphahlele is also widely considered to be the father of African humanism.

    3. Vivaldi's Four Seasons

      (86) The Four Seasons is a very famous musical composition composed by Vivaldi. Cellos and violins are hevaily present. An interesting fact is that one may note that the Winter part is much more cheery and happy than the Summer one. It turns out that this is not simply an issue of Vivaldi's personal opinions of the seasons but of his medical condition as well. Vivaldi suffered badly from asthma. This caused him to have problem with breathing in the Summer when the weather was warmer and more importantly drier in Italy. In the rainy months during the Winter (Italy being a country in the sub-tropical climate belt) he experienced not issues at all which made him his favorite month. This suprising quirk of his in comparison with most people may be a connection with the narator's own personal feeling of disconnection with bothe English and Zimbabwians alike.

    4. Cafenol

      (91) Cafenol is a drug used to cure fever that has similar effect to paracetamol (acetaminophen). In fact, the two main "ingredients" from which cafenol is made are exactly paracetamol and as the name suggests - caffeine. That being said. the great presence of caffeine also makes the medication quite cheap especially when compared to different minophens. This may be one of the reasons as to why the author mentions unnamed type of aspirins and cafenol to "abate" with his fever and not cafenol given the narrator's position. Another interesting fact is that cafenol has been known to cause side effects when consumed without paracetamol. Some of these include nausea, cloudiness, and diahrea.

    5. I began to laugh. Harry began to laugh. We were both as helpless as if the laughter was the final say of the storm

      (47) Once again the author uses really closely related (and even the very same) words to draw attention to the action taking place as seen here by his "overusage" of laugh and laughter. The next setence discusses the characters laughing as a clensing from madness while in this one it is thought of as the final say of the storm indicating deeper and multifaced meaning. On one side their laughter may be one of desparation, resulting from the presumed stupuduty of the fight but on the other, it may have to do with a way of freeing their mental states from one or another kind of oppresion through engaging in what at first seem a primitive way of conduct, This may also point out to a divergence between the way in which colonialists and Zimbabwians perceive and value different cultures and their own for that matter.

    6. And then something jumped upon my back and I fell face flat in the churning mud of the night. Something was trampling me into the sticky mess of mud.

      (47) In two consecutive sentences, the author decides to choose the same word to describe what appear to be two distinct things - churning mud of the night and sticky mess of mud. It is apperant that some connection between the two must be in place as to spark this creative choice given that none of the two has anything to do with actual dirt. One possible explanation may be the fight that takes place with Harry. If that is the case, I am inclined to think, that this choice may be a self-reflaction on the side of the writer, in terms of him reevaluating his action and realizing a resentment for violence and conflict independent on either side's intent, goal or innocense. This is further possible by addition of him falling face flat which can either be perceived literally (as in on the ground) or metaphorically building up on the analysis discussed above.

    7. A 'lucky' chance -an encounter with a racist but benevolent white priest -pushed his foot up on to the first rung: he became a catechist, bullying old and young alike and accusing women -those who repulsed his advances -of witchcraft and sorcery.

      (48) The author conveys irony in a somewhat usual way trough the stylistic choice of writing 'lucky'. As he goes on it is revealed that the fate of the men turned out to be of a violent oppressor without respect for anyone be them young or old. However, the author also takes the chance to note the benevolent priest was white. This choice seems unappealing to me as it draws attention to a general opinion as if the priest's whiteness has something to do with his benevolence. If that is the case, on the other hand, it won't be appropriate to express repulse at what through the words young and old, I perceive to be a general mistreatment and not towards a specific case.

    8. In the centre of them, written in minute letters the colour of dawn, was the legend CIVILISATION. But some enterprising vandal had scrawled over it the two words BLACK IS.

      (51) The author's usage of capitalized letters is distinct from what I have seen in other various works. Normally, I asociate this stylistic choice with the shouting out of the said word. This is indeed true in The House of Hunger too but at other instances. Here, it seems, the author uses capitalization of letters to draw the reader's attention to the specific word. However, he also associates the words with enterprising vandal in this particular context so he remains somewhat true to the original idea. The words themselves, CIVILIZATION and BLACK are of particular interest given their usual contrast in the eyes of the colonialists which here, are instead connected as both having been changed due to intent.

    9. Lager trucks

      Lager is a type of beer which is usually served at low temperatures. It was quite common in the British African collonies because it was quite easy to produce, unlike the normally warm bevarage consumed by the British. Lager trucks, ergo are vehicles used for the transportation, and possibly the storage, of such drinks. It is interesting to note, that despite the poor living conditions, residents had access to alcoloh including common people like the author or the township black clerk.

    10. Ajax,' I said. 'Who?' 'In Homer,' I said. 'The Iliad.'

      Homer's The Iliad is considered to be the first literary work of Ancient Greece and one of the first such in the whole world. It tells the story of the Trojan War sparked by the escape of Helen to Troy A story equally devoted to gods as to men, it comprises of several epic songs. Some notable heroes include Achilles, Hector, and Odysseus. Ajax is a Greek hero, son of king Talemon, who fights along the Spartans. He is a person of great courage, yet as Odysseus turns out victorious in the Little Iliad, Ajax is consumed by madness and starts to slaughter all Greek cattle.

    11. black policemen paraded and saluted beneath the flag and the black clerk of the township sauntered casually towards the Lager trucks and a group of schoolchildren in khaki and green ran like hell towards the grey

      In this sentence, the author's usage of colour may be interpreted as a way to create division between different members of the society or to introduce a continuing association of specific colours with specific notions / concepts. It is noteworthy that while the skin colour of the policeman and of the clerk is specified, nothing is said about the flag or the Lager trucks suggesting importance on people rather than objects. An exception about the school follows, which is described by the colour grey, and its interactors are also the only people in this series to be described by a colour different than black: schoolchildren in khaki and green (11). A very possible explanation may have to do with a separation of the school from the other institutions given the author is well educated.

    12. I sat beneath the tall msasa tree whose branches scrape the corrugated iron roofs. I was trying not to think about where I was going. I didn't feel bitter. I was glad things had happened the way they had; I couldn't have stayed on in that House of Hunger where every morsel of sanity was snatched from you the way some kinds of bird snatch food from the very mouths of babes.

      The author may have been using monotonous sentense structure in order to build up suspence before introducing a central concept, in that case the title of the novel - The House of Hunger. As it can be seen, the sentence where this happens is preceeded by several relatively short ones: I sat..., I was..., I didn't..., I was... and immediately after we get the one begining with I couldn't... where the phrase House of Hunger is used for the first time in the novel (apart from the title) (11). The next sentence is also the first in the sequence to not begin with an I.