Many of the readings in The Little Review were about death and one of the interesting things to me in “Decay” by Ben Hecht were the smells. “The stench is like a grime that leadens the air” (p 44). The story is about a family and living, but living in sickness and death and how the smells make the living seem dead. The family is living like they are already in the grave or a graveyard. Smell comes up in “Ulysses” as well, “Saltwhite crumbling mush of corpse: smell, taste like raw white turnups” (p 36). This makes the smell appear so thick that a person taste it. It really emphasizes the dead.
Another thing that I found interesting was that both “Ulysses” and “Decay” mention the rat. “there’s a rat. It’s wiping its nose with its feet” (p 44) and “An obese grey rat toddled along the side of the crypt, moving the pebbles” (p 36). In both chapters the rat is content to walk among the dead or dying.