Good Morning, Midnight. Jean Rhys Essay

2061 words - 8 pages

GOOD MORNING, MIDNIGHT, Jean RhysAs the first three quarters of the book was discussed during the previous seminar, I will try having a go at the ending. Just as the oxymoronic title of the book can be interpreted in a variety of ways, so too can (I hope) the ending.In some ways the final scene in Good Morning, Midnight is as much a contradiction in terms as the title. Sasha has come to Paris for a two week holiday. After spending the the novel avoiding feeling and close interaction, Sasha ultimately accepts the advances of a gigolo she has befriended, only to reject him at the moment of truth and sleep with the man next door whom she fears and hates.In discussion of the final scene in GMM, Coral Ann Howells states that: She [Sasha] is approaching her deepest desire, the desire for oblivion. The white robed 'priest' of an 'obscene half understood religion' (GMM, p.35) (as Sasha had earlier described the man next door) will be making love to a naked corpse like body in Sasha's ultimate gesture of self-abandonment.If we look at the first sentence of this quotation , there is an undeniable truth. Sasha's desire for oblivion is evident in many ways; she seems to move from drunken state to drunken state, sometimes taking luminal on top of the alcohol. On a number of occasions in her life, she has considered killing herself, convincing herself that it would be a softer option than living. It was then that I had the bright idea of drinking myself to death..... I did try it too......Drink, drink, drink....As soon as I sober up I start again. (GMM, p. 37)Despite the fact that suicide has been on Sasha's mind in the past, there has always been some excuse she has found to not do it. When recalling her time in Paris before, we find Sasha thinking: After the first week I made my mind to kill myself - the usual whiff of chloroform. Next week, or next month, or next year I'll kill myself. But I might as well last out my month's rent, which has been paid up, and my credit for breakfasts in the morning. (GMM, p.72)By focusing on the day to day facts such as rent and where the next meal is coming from, Sasha reveals that these mundane facts have been a part of her coping strategy for quite some time. This quotation shows how she can fixate on them strongly enough even to prevent herself from suicide. But what events have actually pushed Sasha to this extreme of emotion?The still born baby has to be a founding moment of Sasha's psyche as mixed in with it are her emotions surrounding her lover and husband, Enno. At this time of emotional and physical pressure, she is sent alone to a birthing place for 'poor people' (GMM, p.49). On her return to Enno after the death of their baby, Sasha makes an attempt to talk to him but it as if he does not want to know: 'God is very cruel,' I said, 'very cruel. A devil, of course. That accounts for everything - the only possible...

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