Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

I.I Mirth

The foreshadowing in this first chapter is embodied in the "purplish shading" under Lily's eyes--her "weariness"--and her yearning for an energizing cup of tea. Exhaustion plagues her from the outset of the novel. The bolded passages represent the novel's efforts to link Lily's enervation to her lot in life--a predetermined fate. Her itinerant lifestyle puts her at risk of becoming as "sallow" and depleted as the young women Selden observes bustling about on the street outside the station or the laboring char-woman that Lily encounters on her way out of Selden's building. As you will see, the bodily effects of exhaustion become even more evident in Chapter 3.

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