Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

I.III.6 Mirth

The destabilization caused by Lily's father's death initiates the itinerancy from which Lily suffers at the outset of the novel. Echoing the theme of kinesis and stasis so pervasive in James's Roderick Hudson, as soon as Lily's father becomes motionless, she and her mother are forced into perpetual movement "from place to place." Her mother's seemingly endless fountain of youthful energy is tapped dry by circumstance. Now that energy and incessant motion is necessary for survival (as opposed to voluntary social display), it becomes too visceral and overwhelming for Lily's mother to survive for long.

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