Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

I.VII.1 Mirth

During luncheon, guests gossip over Gryce’s abrupt departure, and Lily remains silent. In a deep reflection of “her own irony” (63), Lily realizes that her required tax payment—in the form of playing bridge—has cost her the “shelter [of a] colossal fortune” (63). The anxieties that keep Lily awake at night distract her during the day, and her wavering participation in noon-time discussion seems to result from her sleep deprivation. A 2009 sleep study entitled “Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation” observed that “the increased propensity for sleep to occur quickly, even when being resisted by a sleep-deprived subject, is consistent with evidence suggesting that ‘microsleeps’ intrude into wakefulness when sleep-deprived subjects fail to respond (i.e., lapse) during cognitive performance demands” (Goel et al). Lily’s figment of financial forfeiture seems to draw her into a nightmarish dream-state, until she is “roused from these unprofitable considerations by a whispered request from her hostess” (63). Lily awakens again to Judy’s summons. This time it is to serve as family driver, as well as charming entertainer—for she must drive to the train station and retrieve Gus Trenor. It is also inferred that she must utilize her attentive beauty to appease him.


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