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

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I light a cigarette and drink the coffee slowly. As I am doing this two girls walk in . . . Theodore waddles up to their table and talks to them. The tall girl speaks French very well. I can’t hear what Theodore is saying, but I watch his mouth moving and the huge moon-face under the tall chef’s cap.

Good Morning, Midnight - Filozofski fakultet u Splitu Good Morning, Midnight - Filozofski fakultet u Splitu

Various other aspects of Deleuze's philosophy suggest themselves in relation to this fiction, perhaps most notably his positive theory of repetition as yielding novelty which is useful for understanding Rhys’s textual repetition, such as the re-writing in Wide Sargasso Sea, as Lorna Burns has recently argued (2010). My Review: I am not a woman. I think one needs to be a woman to appreciate Jean Rhys. I think one needs to be a Lifetime/WE/Oxygen viewer to appreciate Jean Rhys. What happens to a woman when her self-esteem becomes entirely dependent on mirrors and men. Everything about Sasha, our narrator, has seen better days, including her fur coat which she wears as a kind of memory mantra of better days. There's a febrile pressing authenticity about the way Rhys writes of this squalid repetitive purgatorial world. You can feel the squalor and fatality of Sasha's downward spiral on your skin. Sasha herself seems to have little psychological insight - betokened by the constant tears she sheds without quite knowing where they come from. As a reader you find yourself doubling up as psychoanalyst. There's a fabulous touch at the end when Rhys inverts and creates a horror show of Molly Bloom's triumphant yes to life at the end of her monologue in Ulysses.

The Publisher Says: In 1930s Paris, where one cheap hotel room is very like another, a young woman is teaching herself indifference. She has escaped personal tragedy and has come to France to find courage and seek independence. She tells herself to expect nothing, especially not kindness, least of all from men. Tomorrow, she resolves, she will dye her hair blonde.

Good Morning, Midnight An Exhibition of Blind Spots in Good Morning, Midnight

Finally, the passage ends with Sasha unable to discern events in time. Perhaps, due to her nervousness, this is understandable. However, this also acts as a barometer for the rest of the novel. As Sasha descends down her inevitable road to ruin, memories begin to overtake her. She loses sight of her mask and the masks she assigns to others. By the end of the novel, present and past intertwine as she willingly slips into a final abyss from which she will not return. Growing up in Dominica Rhys witnessed various forms of entrenched social and cultural violence set against and speaking of the island’s violent history of slavery. [9] For Rhys, the rugged, volcanic geography of the island itself bespoke destruction as well as tremendous beauty. Rhys’s childhood in a society riven by racial discord surely trained her perception, and when she moved to Europe and started to write it was fiction depicting the cruelty and violence that forms the ‘underbelly of Western civilisation’ (Carr 1996: 19). She describes in her autobiography the moment in her childhood when she became aware of experiencing the ‘impersonal, implacable’ thing that is racial hatred:Although early critics noted that Good Morning, Midnight was well written, they found its depressing storyline ultimately repellent. [1] Sasha, for all of her masks, means to harm no one. In truth, the masks she creates exist to protect her from harm by the likes of René. She may not want to live in the world, but she does not want to hurt the world either. There is dignity to be found in this moment of realization. Perhaps, in some small way, Sasha finds herself. However, she knows fully well that it is too late. When asked by René, “What happened to you, what happened,” she responds, “One thing? It wasn’t one thing. It took years. It was a slow process” (175). You know what feeling always does me in? Loneliness. When I start feeling lonely it’s hard for me to snap out of it. I tend to wallow in it for awhile; put For Emma, Forever Ago on the stereo (who’s lonelier than a broken hearted guy recording an album by himself in a cabin in Wisconsin in the middle of winter?), open a bottle of Pinot, snuggle up to my cat and tell him all of my troubles. Maybe put on a Kieslowski film. Maybe ‘The Double Life of Veronique.’ What is it one looks for in others when one is that lonely? How differently and acutely observant and intuitive does that make a person? And how distrustful! She knows there is something in her that makes them see through her. Is it the sadness, the compliance, the vulnerability? It makes them so hateful, so pitiless. But there is no self-pity in Sasha Jensen, but a terrible ache, a yearning inside. It is something that can never be filled for its moment of birth is already over. There was another section in this book that I did a lot of thinking about. Sasha was only 25 years old - single - she saw herself too thin, dirty and haggard. Her clothes were shabby, her shoes were worn out, she had circles under her eyes and her hair was straight and lanky. She was so incredibly critical of herself. Sasha DID experience suffering from loss and tragedy .....

Good Morning, Midnight Study Guide | Literature Guide - LitCharts

When she got home on the 25th, her tenants, Mr & Mrs Besant, were lurking in the hallway (they rented the upstairs rooms). According to Jean he said Vreeland, Elizabeth. 2008. ‘Jean Rhys: The Art of Fiction’ (1979) in Philip Gourevitch, ed., The Paris Review Interviews: Vol. 3(Edinburgh:Canongate), pp. 195-214 This strong desire for isolation also comes from a hysterical nervousness and dread of unknown people and places, their hostility towards a certain kind of conspicuousness that only comes from a certain degree of wretchedness. This hostility that slits open her wounds and makes her crumble into the dampness of tears and pain. You want to know what I am afraid of? All right, I’ll tell you..I’m afraid of men - yes, I’m very much afraid of men. And I’m even more afraid of women. I know who did the rejecting of the day. But night is supposed to fall and it doesn't. Good bye, Midnight. The room curtains are drawn and the view stinks. I have a bad feeling that Rhys was just throwing a nowhere fit this time... If you cry to feel dead...

Works Cited

This essay explores obfuscation and nonrecognition in Jean Rhys's 1939 novel, Good Morning, Midnight. The protagonist, Sasha Jansen, decries the fact that people in general do not think, she brings her own ability to think into question, and the text is filled with uncertainties. Rhys’s depiction of the political realities of the late 1930s renders the world of the novel one in which a universal ‘I think’ cannot be presupposed. This essay focuses on the Exhibition and the years of Good Morning, Midnight: 1937, when it is set, and 1939 when it was published. It proposes that the text’s insistence on masking meaning and conveying uncertainties can be read as a response to the monumental unreality and violence of the spectacle of the 1937 World Exposition in Paris. This spectacle is yoked in the text to anti-Semitism in Germany and France in the late 1930s and Sasha’s gaze is read here as a refusal of the terms of representation which serve the realities of political persecution. The novel underscores the significance of what is not represented, and focusing on Sasha’s gaze at the Exhibition provides a positive if difficult way of reading her welcoming of the commis at the novel’s close. The blind spots in this novel affirm the necessity and potential of non-didactic art, refusing the delineated, direct message, and affirming art as that which must help us to not look away from the hard task of thinking. In Paris, Sasha passes the time going to cafés, drinking, taking sleep medication, and lounging in her room. She often encounters her neighbor in the hall or on the stairs. He’s always in a nightgown and is very eager to talk to her, but she finds him unnerving. Her social interactions are limited; she just wanders through the city and wonders what other people think of her. Sitting in bars with a glass of absinthe, she often breaks into tears at unexpected moments. Because of this tendency to cry, she’s well acquainted with the many bar bathrooms of Paris, where she escapes to weep while staring at herself in the mirror. Featuring the comedic voices of Mark Watson, Josie Long and Daliso Chaponda, and created by award-winning producers Steven Rajam (Tim Key and Gogol’s Overcoat) and Benjamin Partridge (Beef and Dairy Network), this is an arts documentary series like no other.

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