Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

Good Morning, Midnight: Jean Rhys (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Rhys's portrait of Sophia Jansen, an isolated, broke, drunk and ageing woman, is the heart of the novella; the plot and the lives of other characters pale in comparison to the swirling psychodrama of the lead character, rendering her melancholy that much more acute. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously. My feeling is you could argue all of these points depending on your analytic sensibilities and also you view of women and, obviously, feminism in particular. Every word I say has chains around its ankles; every thought I think is weighted with heavy weights. How anyone could believe that a woman in this state might benefit from such a solitary trip is beyond me.

This isn’t a simple case of a wound that time can heal; it is a wound so deep that it will always remain open. Sasha is all despondent lovers who are not hiding from their grief, but embracing it and seeing the world from it, no matter how hard it is. The way Rhys goes about describing Paris is quite sinister, moving from one cheap hotel on dead-end street that backs out onto a dingy ally, to another.Despite her efforts to avoid places she used to visit, Sasha goes to a restaurant that she and Enno used to like. Over a drink, he explains that he’s in trouble, claiming he was part of the Foreign Legion and was stationed in Morocco.

He empathizes with what it feels like to have “wounds,” showing her an actual scar that runs along his neck. Sasha’s angry that he was in her room, since she’s worried what other people in the hotel will think about their relationship.Jean, drunk for years, totally out of touch with literary London, almost – but not quite – forgotten. Jean Rhys, CBE (born Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams; 24 August 1890–14 May 1979) was a British novelist who was born and grew up in the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Some people are stronger than others, and initially I found myself questioning Sasha’s vulnerability.

Behind every man, there is a great woman who was never stripped of her worth and left to fend for herself in infamy when he decided that he was sick of dealing with her self conformed by every whim and fancy of a patriarchal world. He escorts her back to her hotel at the end of the night, but when he asks to come inside, she refuses to let him in. After a philosophical discussion about the cruelty and difficulty of life, she agrees to meet one of them the next day. Wisdom would probably consist in finding some middle path between these two poles of egotism, but if I had to choose, I guess I’d take Rhys’s route.

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