Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

II.V.2 Mirth

Throughout Book 2, Lily finds herself trapped within a feedback loop between restfulness and sleeplessness under the auspices of each new patron. We first see evidence of this in Book 1, when Lily delights in the amenity of her Bellomont bedroom only to become increasingly exhausted by concerns of indebtedness. Echoing that early scene, this chapter sets the stage for Lily to endure the spiral from luxuriously well-rested to an insomniac throughout several iterations: First with Bertha Dorset, then here with the Van Alstynes, later with the Gormer, and lastly with Mrs. Hatch. With each patronage, the narrator identifies a specific moment in which Lily consciously relishes her newfound comforts while simultaneously contemplating the instability and precarity of her situation.

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