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April 03, 1940 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1940-04-03

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\PERSPECTIVES

PageEle,

DDYLE PRE SS . ..Continued from Page Four

that first night she had shown him that
she knew how to talk, that he coudn't
embarrass her, that he couldn't under-
stand her entirely in one evening. After
a few weeks he still could not make up
his mind. It was either a pose on her
part-or she was a curious woman. And
he conceded the fact that whatever it
was, he liked her strange veneer.
Lawrence motioned to the waiter. She
needed cigarettes. Across the room she
saw a large covered plate being placed
before Brian Jennings, who appeared
to be watching the bell intently. Law-
rence felt that the crowded restaurant
was stuffy, for her throat was dry, the
blood coursing through her temples hot.
He was dignified looking, of course, but
not staid. She guessed his age to be
about thirty-five. Old enough for a
man to know what he wanted. For
instance, if he wanted a woman. . . she
scooped up an overly large portion of
her parfait . . . if he did, he ought to
know whether he wanted her for the
moment, or . . Lawrence felt a horrible
yearning to cry, inexplicably, just like
any simple female. Thoughts flew up
unhampered now by the hard protective
wall between her mind and emotions.
SHE LOOKED HARD at her nails and
remembered nights alone in her
apartment. Alone in a wide period bed,
sleepless, alert. In those half-dreams
she used to visualize many different
men . . . until a short time ago when
the misty shapes took on a definite form,
a big powerful form. She used to see
him clearly at last . . . and she used
to lie trembling, raw with want . . .
a hopelessly sane, conventional want.
"Success had burst in a shower of
sparks, but among them were ashes
too. Everything accomplished was
nothing when she realized that the
furs, and the jewels and the flushes
of pride to come would lie on a body
divested of its purpose for being. The
conrete hn her life was meant to
be marriage-the rest was jade and

coral weavery. She was weak and
human, but above all, a being super-
ior in intelligence, for she realized
the feminine goal in the midst of all
her masculine achievements."
"Victory", Doyle Press, 1940
Lawrence wanted a home. Perhaps
it would be a duplex apartment, shiny,
expensive, but at least she made no
concessions to the cliched ideas of trel-
lised walls in the suburbs. She made
only one concession . . . and that could
be credited to the superior intelligence,
for she wanted children.
Lawrence straightened her napkin
and allowed another thought to well up
in her mind and burst. She was ready
for marriage; and the only man she had
ever wanted to marry was seated aorcss
from her at that moment . . .
It was not a quick decision. It was a
realization of the meaning of his con-
stant appearance in her half-dreams,
of her daily visits to this restaurant be-
cause he came here. It was realization
that he had thrilled her that night; that
he was fine and clever; that he was
successful and well-bread; that life with
him would be as she had planned it, and
more-it would mean the unloosing of
all the stored emotions, the revelation
to another human that her heart could,
sound louder than the stunting voice of
reason.
J ENNINGS pushed aside his dessert.
He felt that the moment was im-
portant, and wondered whether he would
always experience this feeling in her
presence. He had tpyed often with the
idea of marriage, but never before had
he seriously considered a woman at his
side for the immediate future. Now
he searched his mind to find out why
he had waited this long, why he had not
wanted a wife before. The whole idea
was. good. He was wealthy, and young
enough to pass on virile strength. to a
son. And he could find no objection
to the woman seated across from him ..-.
Lawrence broke the cellophane of the

new pack, and struck a match. She was
glad, now, that she had shown her mind
the state of her hear . . . trite thing,
the heart, but once for every woman,
only once, as she had expounded in her
books, it signaled the mind to conceive.
a new future. Lawrence knew now, and
all she had to do was set the 'course,
pattern the action. She sipped her water
nervously.
He covered his eyes for a moment .. .
he wanted the surety of blackness to
make his decision. There was that night
to consider. She had rebuffed him.
If he took this step it would be a turn-
ing point in his well-managed, comfort-
able life . . . and he could not afford
to be hurt . .
LAWRENCE RESTED on her elbows,
placed her lips against interlaced
fingers. If this were the ultimate . . .
the steps had to be taken immediately,
the rift between them had been widen-
ing steadily since that night. But she
couldn't be reckless. This took finesse,
the finesse her characters used in simi-
lar situations . . , and she lived her
characters. Now, the course they would
have taken . . .
He thought for a winked instant of
the books of hers that he had read . . .
clever enough, he had always thought,
but unreal. No man or woman ever
thought with the involved processes she
ascribed to them . . reason, counter-
reason . . . but of course that sort of
thing sold with the pseudo-sophisticat-
ed world. Women didnt actually plan
when they were honestly affected . . .
he could use this thought as the stand-
ard, the measure. t
Lawrence felt relieved that she had
decided she wanted him; now she could
be crafty, and not confused . . . He was
right here, she could speak to him .
though not, of course, until he spoke to
her, or made some sign that he had seen
and was acknowledging her. After all,
he had never called after leaving her
that night. It was up to him. She
would have written it this way, she be-

lieved. It was up to hir, although ..-
He recalled that she h2,d driven hisr,
away that night.. Thus he could not,,
as a man, nod in her (irection untih
she smiled, or opened the way with ,
sign, one sign . . . He could riot chane
this decision. She was the 'woman, h
the male, this the maune. , . if shi-t
really cared for him at all
Lawrence snubbed out her cigarette
and, her eyes wider, brightes than usua..
slowly looked up and saree once mon ,
across the room .
Brian Jennings crumpled his napkj
on the table, pushed reef his chanr
forcefully, and before he sose to leavi'
his eyes one last time on the womeo
across the room .
"There are those wonen who are
clever and wily, and tIlloa who are
stupid and proud; and rsetimes
there is one wise beyond tar sisters.
but proud beyond her starength, with
a steel veneer of courage causing
but the frailty of flesh and blood.
To that woman, whom-they pick for
the metal of her exteriir, the fates.
bow in mock servilityt; hey unroll
the carpet of a scinaiila.tsg world
before her, and smirk aol scrape
their foreheads when she steps up-
on it. But--if she ventures minto the
cold brilliance too far, they do not
delay in whisking the plush depths
from beneath her to watch her fall
upon the spikes. They srch their
backs then and laugh in hsawls, for
the descendency is swift, the jags
knife-pointed, and the uner wo-
man soft.
But-if she feels her way cau-
tiously, advances wilh es and in
wisdom is shamed not ieo setreat, to
forego the brilliancy and spikes for
sake of safety and sore, then the
play is happy, the fates. who might
have won, have lost. And this last,
may it be known, is themesy course
for the woman of super. nmind."
Lawrence, Sylvia, "V4 ury," Doyle
Press, 1940.

datie 7 i

The Ci'qf .I/UMteP

NATIVE SON, by Richard Wright.
Harper and Brothers.
The best way to indicate the import-
ance of this book is to compare it to
The Grapes of Wrath. What Steinbeck
did for the Okies, Wright does for the
Negroes in America. Both men deal
with a dislocation of life so vast as to
stagger the imagination. Both deal
with the impulses, emotions and atti-
tudes of plain people. Both have a
revolutionary insight into the realities
of the problems that affect nearly two-
thirds of the nation. And both books
are sweeping men and women toward a
new conception of the way things are
and the way they ought to be.
Native Son- is Richard Wrights first
novel. His Fire and Cloud won an O.
Henry short storyprize; his Bright and
Morning Star is included in O'Brien's
collection of the best American short
stories, and his Uncle Tom's Children
won first prize in the Federal Writer's
Contest. Yet Native Son is more than a
first novel: it is also the first work in
American fiction to deal intelligently
and profoundly with the life, mind and
emotions of the American Negro in
action under the stress of unrelenting
economic, racial and social and spiritual
oppression.
The appearance of Native Son so soon
after the publication ofChrist In Con-
crete and The Grapes of Wrath is a.
hopeful and, significant event in the.
development of the Asnerican novel
Taken together these three books repre-

sent the culmination of the trend that
began in American literature during
the depression. They mark both a be-
ginning and an end. Although each of
these books is a unique literary produc-
tion none of them could have been
written without the whole series of ex-
periments that marked the literature
of the Thirties. Nor would any of them
have taken the form it did, or have en-
tered so completely into the conscious-
ness of the American people without the
tremendous upheavals that characterized

THE CRAZY HUNTER, by Kay
Boyle. Harcourt Brace and Co.
KAY BOYLE'S collection of three
short novels The Crazy Hunter,
marks a tremendous step forward in her
writing career, for in it, she achieves
for the first time, a sustained feeling
of strength and power, which, for all
their beauty of style and precision, her
early novels and short stories conspic-
uously lacked. We find here, the old

NEW BOOKS-

and death. Miss Boyle has captured the
flavour and mystery of the EnglisA
countryside; the rainy, summer nights
the bleakness of cliffs, the oppressive
heat, to an amazing degree. The climax.
of the story in which the liftie, totally
negative and unproductive, finally finds
means of achieving some sort of validilty
of existence is certainly one of the nou
exciting and effective denuerments .rt
modern prose.
"The Bridegroom's Body." " the secon O
story, eludes condensation. It concerrn
two Engish aristocrats and a young
Irish nurse who comes to live on then'
estate. There is a strange ffinity be-
tween the two women who ate broughi.
together by the death of a wapen. The
background of swan and the unlquere'
of the setting are a perfeot foil for .
Kay Boyle's talents.
"Big Fiddle" is a psychological story
of a paronoiac who, through his deperat
need of companionship, is convicted of
a murder he never knew he osmittet
The author's superb gift for character
analysis and dialogue stand her in goodt
stead. The inevitable tragedy, inherent
from the very beginning _ skillfully
brought to a climax.
With the publication of The Crazy
Hunter, Kay Boyle comes nto her own.
She has stopped dealing with minutiae'
and has broadened her scope tremend-
ously. The Spanish Loyahst in "The
Crazy Hunter," the neurotic fiddler in
"Big Fiddle," the father in the former
story, are all indications of an increa-
(Continued on Pege :12)

American life in the past ten years.
Without Faulkner, Dos Passos and Cald-
well The Grapes of Wrath is incon-
ceivable; and without the petdestrian
realism of Farrell and the sensitive no-
tations of Millen Brand, the artistic
interplay of {social and psychological
factors in Native Son is equally incon-
ceivabl. In this respect these novels
are the summarization of the books and
life of the last decade.
In another and more important sense,
however, they represent a new level of
literary excellence, and they have in-.
(Continued on Page 12)

sensitivity, the unsurpassed prose style
and the minute perceptions for which
she is so justly famous, but added to
all these, a virility and granite-hewn
quality which answers, once and for
all, the charges of preciousness and
tenuousness which have been leveled
against her writing.
The first story, "The Crazy Hunter"
is primarily the remarkable study of
the efforts of a sensitive, young girl
to reorientate a blind horse to the mean-
ing of existence, but in it we sense the
broad implications of all that is living
allied against the forces of decadence

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