In Jean Rhys’ novel “Good Morning Midnight” the reader is introduced to Sasha Jansen. Sasha is a run of the mill alcoholic who has seemingly been handed the most dreadful hand in life. Her husband deserted her, her child died, she is poor, and mostly—she is isolated and alone. Her viewpoints on the world, and herself, are very cynical and pessimistic. Sasha’s story details her downfall in a stream of consciousness narrative that takes the reader from one thing to the next and back again. It tells of the things she has sensed which leads to the inevitable end of hopelessness which causes her to suffer severe disconnection from the world around her. The problem is, absolute hopelessness is the best thing that Sasha could find for herself. For Sasha, everything must be kept in perspective. She must not go places that make her remember, she must not do things that make her remember, and she must not see things that make her remember. For Sasha, remembering her tragedies means destroying the careful routine that she has crafted for her life. Sasha herself alludes to this when she claims “[she] doesn’t want the way to the exhibition, [she] wants the way out.” (13)
Sasha explains it very clearly herself in the opening of the narrative why she needs her hopelessness. From the very beginning, the reader knows that something is off because Sasha tells the reader that Sasha is not her real name and that she thought that it would “change [her] luck if [she] changed [her] name.” (12) This is a monumentally telling sentence because Sasha is essentially saying that she needed to change who she was. She is inferring that she couldn’t stand not being Sasha because Sasha was the only one who might bring her luck, or in this instance, a better life. Sasha is a very self-conscious woman. She has felt the sting and heartache of her under privileged life for as long as she has lived it. She even claims that she represses herself and her memories. She says that she must live her life by “. . . a programme. . .” (15) She goes on to say that she cannot just walk about aimlessly with her memories playing in her head like a gramophone saying: “here this happened, here that happened.” (15) She is afraid to remember because she is afraid to cry, especially in public. Moreover, she is paranoid, as well.
So Sasha, on a monetary loan from a concerned friend, is visiting Paris for the second time in her life. Sasha has never been able to properly afford such extravagance and takes the chance here that is given to her. When she arrives her friend has set her up in a room that Sasha describes as “dark . . . [with] red curtains.” (12) Sasha feels insulted by this and continues on to say that the room is covered in dark specs which she sees as insects and dirt. This image reflects the hopelessness of Sasha’s situation because she feels that the specs reflect her life.
Even when Sasha does not want to remember her past, it creeps up on her and comes to life anyway. She is...