Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

II.X.1, II.XIII.2 Mirth

Novel's use of the term "fag"* (and its variations):
  1. The first "fagged" figure we encounter in the novel is when Lily recalls in Book 1, Chapter 3 that "long after nightfall" she would often hear her father's "fagged step on the stairs" and find him kissing her in a tired silence. 
  2. next, the term is used to described her "fagged spirit" in the last chapter of Book 1 as she commences "a lonely night—a night as grim and sleepless as her tortured fancy had pictured it to Gerty." 
  3. In Book 2, Chapter 8, Lily unconsciously slips into sleep during her conversation with Gerty: She leaned back for a moment, closing her eyes, and as she sat there, her pale lips slightly parted, and the lids dropped above her fagged brilliant gaze, Gerty had a startled perception of the change in her face—of the way in which an ashen daylight seemed suddenly to extinguish its artificial brightness. She looked up, and the vision vanished.
  4. The term shifts in Book 2, Chapter 10 from a descriptor of intimate sleep issues related to Lily (and her childhood recollections) to a social affliction for the working class: "There were twenty of them in the work-room, their fagged profiles, under exaggerated hair, bowed in the harsh north light above the utensils of their art; for it was something more than an industry, surely, this creation of ever-varied settings for the face of fortunate womanhood. Their own faces were sallow with the unwholesomeness of hot air and sedentary toil, rather than with any actual signs of want: they were employed in a fashionable millinery establishment, and were fairly well clothed and well paid; but the youngest among them was as dull and colourless as the middle-aged."
  5. Lastly, working-class woman Nettie Struther notices in Book 2, Chapter 13 that Lily looks "so fagged out." 

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