Reading Response #6 (due Oct. 24)

Read until page 86 of Voyage in the Dark, and respond to the prompt below. The total for your entire response should be between 200-300 words. Include at least a couple of references or citations in your response. You want to prove that you read the assigned pages and you’ve thought about them.

  1. Poor Anna. As this novel goes on, things get progressively worse for her. Who’s to blame? Walter? The world she is living in? Anna herself? In a short response, write some idea of why things continue to get worse for Anna.

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37 thoughts on “Reading Response #6 (due Oct. 24)

  1. Overall, the reason why Anna’s life continues to get progressively worse is because she has never come to accept the fact that she is stuck in England, unlikely to ever return to the West Indies. She states in the first chapter that she “got used to everything except the cold and that the towns we went to always looked so exactly alike… Southsea, this place was” (Rhys 8). Essentially, Anna has done nothing in England except criticize it within her mind, refusing to do anything to make sure she lives a decent life there. Much of her desire to criticize England is itself caused from Anna’s internal anxiety, led by her discomfort with her lack of identity. It leads her to buy new clothes or wish she was part of another race, as shown when she goes shopping and says “The streets looked different that day, just as a reflection the looking glass is different from the real thing” (25). Anna tries to do things forget about her own lack of identity, feeling that doing so would appease the expectations of others and hence project a new identity on her. It is the major reason why she embarks upon her affair with Walter and why Walter leaves her later, as while he is cold towards Anna, she also rebuffs him many times throughout her relationship, continuing to be judgmental towards others including Vincent, and provides him with little to no reason to stay with her as she treats their relationship as simply physical and highly materialistic. Anna’s troubles, while caused though the actions of other, are indirectly her own fault, as her failure to determine her own identity leads her to her troubled thinking, which she forces upon others and refuses to change.


  2. Anna’s life is continually getting worse because she can’t grasp living in London. It is much different then the west indies and takes getting used to, but Anna can’t seem to conform to London. Anna describes life in London as” ..a dream. At other times England was the real thing and out there was the dream”(8). Anna doesn’t quite understand if what she is feeling and going through reality or just at times, a pigment of her imagination.London makes her feel confused and she doesn’t know how to react to all these changes around her. Many other things impact Anna, later in the novel when Jeffries breaks it off with her. Mr. Jeffries is a huge character in Anna’s life and she was starting to feel comfortable with her new life, but that feeling did not last long. She thought ” He won’t answer, and I don’t care, because I don’t want to have to move again”(82). Her stating that she doesn’t want to move again shows how annoyed and fed up she is. It also shows that she was starting to get comfortable with her life and she felt ‘normal’ for once. If you think, Anna has moved many times in her life and she just wants to settle down but every possible obstacle is getting in her way. She can’t grasp living in London, it is very difficult and now on to of that she is losing someone who was financially supporting her and was seen as “close” to her.
    Siobhan McDonagh


  3. Anna’s life seems to be taking this downward spiral and when it comes to placing blame there is only one common denominator, Anna herself. I understand that people do get stuck and have a hard time dealing with situations that arise out of the blue. However, Anna seems to always choose the wrong choices, whether it be the men or the way she treats others. Of course, most of these actions and naivete could easily be blamed on her lack of experiences in life and her age. At the end of the day they are still her choices that lead her down various paths. Afterall, that is what life is like, depending on the choices and decisions you make will always set you onto a different path. An example of this is when Anna is speaking with her step mother. Her step mother was talking about how she thinks London is not a good place for Anna and that perhaps she should go live with her father’s brother. When given the option to take her out of this path of prostitution she acts like a child and refuses to be saved. Instead Anna asks her step mother if she knows how capable she is and if she knows how much many she is making. Her step mother is not an idiot and refused to learn of the ways her step daughter was surviving (59).


  4. Things progressively get worse for Anna, because Anna makes things progressively worse for herself. She always finds the negative in things which lead her into living a very depressive life. Here are some examples to show this: “When I thought about my clothes I was too sad to cry” (Rhys 22). “I don’t like London. It’s an awful place; it looks horrible sometimes. I wish I’d never come over here at all” (Rhys 40). “I wish I were old and the whole dammed thing were finished; then I shouldn’t get this depressed feeling for nothing at all” (Rhys 78). Anna would be better off if she would make the best of her situations but, unfortunately for Anna she is a very depressive person and seems to have hatred toward everything she encounters or is a part of. The only thing she takes a liking to is Walter, which at first she hates. Anna starts to become really emotionally attached to Walter and Walter starts to sense this which, in the end sets up Anna for failure. Every time Walter would leave London for some time, Anna would wait for his letters and expect him to write every day, while she would wait she thought “I remembered that I hadn’t got to get up and go away…like a fool” (Rhys 66) she ends up falling madly in love with Walter and this leads her to become vulnerable, she then receives a letter from Vincent saying that Walter is done with her. Anna’s depressive attitude and her gullible actions toward Walter is what lead to situations getting progressively worse for her because she can’t find a balance. Either she is too sad or miserable about the things around her or she’s too affectionate with Walter, which I guess scares him off.

    Anthony Sciola


  5. The people around Anna, all the judgement, and rules set out for her, is the issue for why things get worse for Anna. At the beginning of the reading, Anna’s step-mother, Hester, and Anna have a lunch together and Hester feels as though it was a mistake bringing Anna to London. Anna says to her that she can take care of herself and she doesn’t need anyone’s money, Hester stared at her “her eyes had an inquisitive look and then cold, disgusted look” (57). This look Hester gave Anna indicates how she had already jumped into conclusion for that matter, with her “disgusted look,” she says “I don’t want to know,” as if she already knows what Anna is up to or how she makes her money; prostitution (57). However that is not the case, as far as the readers know. Even the letter Vincent had written Anna, “Have you kept any of the letters Walter wrote to you? If so you ought to send the back” (81). This is an example, of even someone she hardly knows, is telling her what to do. Anna is constantly being told what to do or how to do it, since she is the youngest. Anna cannot be herself or live her life the way she wants due to others around her who look down at her, and somewhat boss her around because of her youth.


  6. It is only the beginning of the novel and already Anna has us feeling helpless and depressed. I believe she is to blame for why everything gets continuously worse. She sees the world from a “half empty” point of view. It seems that Anna believes only bad things are happening to her but I believe good things happen to but she is concentrating more on the negative. For example, Anna is getting singing lessons from Vincent but after Walter breaks off their relationship she says she hates Vincent and does not want to see him again. Instead of not wanting to see Vincent again, she should take advantage of the opportunity she is given to have these lessons because as Maudie said “if you don’t swank a bit nothing’s any use” (Rhys 39). Throughout the chapters, we can see a constant negative mindset from Anna. She states, multiple times, how much she hates England. She not only says that she “wish she’d never come over” (Rhys 40) to London at all but also states that during the day “there was no sun, but the air was used-up and dead, dirty-warm, as if thousands of other people had breathed it before you” (Rhys 65). We can just see how most of her thoughts have a negative root to them. Hester helped Anna out in her time of need and brought her to England, paid for some of her education and bought her some” garments” (Rhys 54). After all this, Anna should feel grateful for being given this chance and try to make the most of this opportunity instead of being so pessimistic as she has been so far.

    Steven Colalillo


  7. In the first few pages of the novel, Anna says that she detests the cold and doesn’t seem to like London very much. She’s feeling sad since she’s homesick. As we go deeper into the novel, Anna’s situation is slowly deteriorating. First, Anna’s stepmother, Hester, “refuses to be made responsible for [her]”, and says that she will no longer be sending her money anymore (Rhys, 57). Anna has no choice but to take care of her own expenses, as it seems like she doesn’t have any support from her family. Then, Walter announces that he’s leaving to New York, and that he’ll see her in a couple of months. Weeks later, she receives a letter from Vincent describing that “Walter is still very fond of [her] but he doesn’t love [her] like that any more, and after all [she] must always have known that the thing could not go on for ever…” (79-80). Anna is broken-hearted because she thought that Walter and her had a true relationship, and expected that it would last forever. “[Anna] imagined [herself] saying, […] ‘I only want to see you sometimes, but if I never see you again I’ll die. I’m dying now really, and I’m too young to die’” (83). It sounds like she perceived Walter as her lover, not her client. However, Walter, on the other hand, only saw their relationship as a transaction or a service; he gives the money in exchange of getting to sleep with her. In other words, he saw her as what Anna really is, a prostitute. Poor Anna is so madly in love with Walter that she doesn’t seem to realize that Walter has used her. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say that Anna’s sadness is all due to Walter leaving her, but it certainly has made her feel extremely depressed and has made her lose hope. In short, many things continue to get worse for Anna, so I don’t think it would be fair to blame it one single thing.

    Claudia Keurdjekian


  8. As time goes on, Anna is confronted to multiple deceptions in her life. The first major event that disappointed her is they sad looking country, England. The city that she had imagined with bright colours is not the perfect portrait of the image that she once pictured. For instance, when she came to London she was not able to adapt to the gloomy city characterized with a melancholy mood. For example, when she was in the train looking outside with her stepmother, Hester, she was blown by the peculiarity of the lifestyle unbridled and the colour of the population, a uniform white wave moving back and forth: “I read about England ever since I could ever read – smaller meaner everything is never mind- this is London – hundreds thousands of white people white people rushing along and the dark houses all alike frowning down one after the other all alike stuck together…oh I’m not going to like this place …(15).The reason why things got worse is partly her fault and partly the environment where she’s living. In fact, it seems that Anna is not putting enough effort to at least adapt to the city. She’s really a pessimistic person because she always looks life with a dark filter on every thing that is surrounding her. The fact that she is always comparing her native land to the grey city is making her even more sad, since she can not accept the reality that she’s living : she will not be able to return to the dreamful and colourful homeland. Furthermore, after meeting Walter Jeffries the white misanthrope is constantly shook emotionally , when she’s with him Anna has discovered a feeling that was lie dormant, ephemeral joy and money craving. In order to comfort herself and forget her sadness for a moment, she discovered the power of money. With Walter’s money she was able to buy expensive clothes that she could not afford before and felt for once a short and quick feeling: happiness. Unfortunately, her bubble was quickly popped and plunged again in the darkness of her disillusions after her break up when she saw Walter : “The candles crying wax tears…I had to go to the funeral in a white dress and white gloves…they said so young to die (83). Hence, Anna is entirely destroyed after the break up that she sees death as a loophole to misery, but it seems that the sad reality is catching her, London will always be a sad city pervaded by white sorrowful people including Walter.

    Leila Bencherif


    1. A vulnerable person can’t be blamed for falling victim to a society that is based on taking advantage of the less fortunate. Anna has had all the odds stacked against her since the beginning. She fit all the criteria of somebody that was bound to get hurt: she was alone, young, innocent and had no power. However, her greatest disadvantage was that she was very rarely happy which certainly compromised her ability to be rational and protect herself. When Walter took Anna to the country, she experienced one of her only happy moments in England and yet she knew it wouldn’t last: “It’s unlucky to know you’re happy; it’s unlucky to say you’re happy” (68-69). In England, the combination of these unfortunate circumstances and traits in her character made her a tart before she even knew it. Since it’s what society assumed she was, that is what she became. Everybody seems to judge her even those who pretend to care about her. Mrs Dawes is one example of this phenomenon: “-placid and speaking softly, but a bit as if she were watching me sideways” (78). An 18 year old girl, all alone in a strange country and most likely depressed can’t be at fault for her misfortune. In fact, I think this novel is reminiscent of an Emile Zola sort of determinism. The conditions are set in a way that the outcome becomes inevitable. I think Anna’s fate is clearly outlined to the other characters in the novel but also to the readers from the very start.

      Neta Fudim


  9. Things keep going wrong for Anna and I think it’s because she is not only confused about life but she does not speak her mind enough. Anna seems very confused in very important aspects of her life. When meeting Walter and Vincent for the first time she thinks to herself ” I hate them both” (12). Moments later Anna gives Walter her information so that they can keep in touch. This is not an action that represents the thoughts she had just minutes before. Later in the novel when Anna is with Walter and they are speaking about Vincent coming to visit with a girl named Germaine, Walter says to Anna “You don’t mean you don’t like Vincent” and she responds ” of course I like him” (68). Fast forward a few pages later and she thinks to herself “No, I don’t like you” (74) after Vincent squeezed her hand to reassure her she would be ok. Anna does not speak her mind if she didn’t really like Vincent then she should have said it and she just comes off as a confused character all around. She seems unsure if herself and who she is and because of that people are able to take advantage of her.Bad things will keep happening to her because she does not know how to make a decision and stick to it or to stand up for herself and let people know how she really feels. Once she is able to do those things then maybe it will get better for her. Being able to say some of what she was feeling towards Walter when he broke up with her was a good step but she needs to do this more than just when she is very upset. When someone is confused about their feelings and are afraid to express themselves it can lead to bad things happening that may have been able to be prevented.


  10. Anna never seemed to have had a happy life, she was always so sad. She thought about wanting to die multiple times for it seems she felt no purpose in life or that she wasn’t important maybe. Throughout the novel, it progressively gets worse for her and I believe her step mother Hester is to blame. Anna was very lonely especially since her step-mother did not seem to care for her, even after the death of her father. Hester never did her role as Anna’s guardian/mother because she did not truly love or care for her as a daughter of her own. She felt as if she did her part simply because she brought her to England and paid the debts of her father. She even simply wanted to get rid of Anna by sending her to live with her uncle and aunt because she was not willing to take responsibility for her. As a result, Anna never felt love, so she never learned self-love or self-respect either. Meeting Walter gave her a sense of affection that she wasn’t receiving from anyone else and that is the reason she let herself be treated and used like that. She felt that Walter was the only one that acknowledges her therefore she got attached to him. Even when Walter decides to end things between them, Anna tries to hold onto him. To conclude, if Hester would have looked after her like she was supposed to, Anna wouldn’t be with Walter and she wouldn’t need to do these kind of services in order to gain money.

    Jem Bajala


  11. Anna, from what I have read so far, is not living a very fulfilling and enjoyable life. She does not ever seem to be happy, and when she seems to be it does not last very long. She seems to blame her misery on everything and everyone around her, but does not seem to want to make things better either. I believe she is right in blaming her entourage for the misery she is in, because she acts on what the people around her tell her to do. All the characters she interacts with tell her who she should spend her time with, “You go out with him if he asks you. Those men have money; you can tell that in a minute, can’t you?” (Rhys 14). They tell her how she ought to behave, “I tried to teach you to talk like a lady and behave like a lady and not like a nigger and of course I couldn’t do it” (Rhys 56). Even living in England is a decision that was made for her by someone else’s idea of who Anna should be. Not only is she constantly being told what to do, but what she does based on what she is told is never right anyway, “But I did think when I brought you to England that I was giving you a real chance. And now that you’re beginning to turn out badly I must be made responsible for it […]” (Rhys 56). She is constantly judged for her actions, no one ever encourages her or tells her she is doing something right, “No, this is no way for a young girl to live.” (Rhys 78), so it comes as no surprise that she isn’t the happiest of people.

    Charlotte Lapointe


  12. Anna is living in a world where supplies of money are short and things simply don’t come easy. After her father passed away, she’s forced to move to England and she consistently makes references about the temperature here, with a specific focus on how cold it is. She states that “[She] got used to everything except the cold and that the towns [they] went to always looked exactly alike.” (8). She simply hates living in England, and much that it has to offer. Hester is someone who does worry about Anna and wants to supply for her, but gets a letter from Uncle Bo stating that she hasn’t done her share in helping Anna, which seriously offends her. After much discussion, Hester concludes that “[She intends] to write to [Anna’s] uncle and tell him that [she refuses] to be made responsible for [her]. (57). She suddenly gives up on Anna without Anna really having anything to do with it. Anna barely fights back to defend herself and she states that “[She doesn’t] care” (61) about hating most things in her life, which isn’t a very good perspective and judgement to have. Considering the fact that she “[She] hated being white” (62), there’s not much she can do to change this, and if she can’t accept this then it will cause her to live a miserable life as she has a hard time accepting who she really is. Jeffries sends her money and sweet letters which gives Anna a false sense of hope as he suddenly ends things with her. She isn’t expecting this. She gets a letter with handwriting that she doesn’t quite notice, and inside, it states that “Walter is still very fond of you but he doesn’t love you like that any more” (80). This letter is sent from Vincent causing Anna to hate him, because she believes that he has some sort of influence of Jeffries perception of her. Jeffries was someone who funded her and took care of some of her needs, and losing this may have a great toll on Anna’s life, as she already has many problems as it is.

    Sara Vetere


  13. In this novel, Anna is a young woman living in England, a country where she is unaccustomed with. She is in a materialistic society in which emotions are not really cared for: “Those men have money you can tell that in a minute…” (14) And that women are perceived as tools. Anna is only being influenced by people she is around with but she also has that unique personality where she is not scared to say what she thinks about others; in a way she is unsentimental. Herself is the cause for her life to be shitty. For her age she knows a lot but ignores much. Anna is ignorant and doesn’t take other people’s opinion into account. Such as when Maudie warns Anna not to get emotional around men, “Only, don’t get soppy about him, that’s fatal…” (38) Anna does get soft around Walter and she ends up being abandoned. She is too dependent on people and she doesn’t assume her responsibilities. Her stepmother says that she isn’t able to take care of Anna anymore and Anna thinks that Walter would take care of her, which he does for some time though. He sends her money to buy clothes, to have a room to sleep whilst she takes him for granted. She depends on her stepmother and then on Walter. Also, Anna keeps referring her present life to back when she lived in the West Indies, and contrasts black people and white people. She is nowhere to be accepted in England because of her being white and having black ancestry, she can’t fit either in the black community or the white’s. The black servant dislikes her for being white and her stepmother, for having black ancestry. (62) This is another reason why Anna’s life gets progressively worse; she is rejected from the world.

    Hersi Nur


  14. When analyzing Anna’s personality it should be taken into account the stage of her development, accordingly adolescents need to adapt to numerous changes. It is a period when adolescents search for an answer to the question “Who am I?”. Anna is stuck between her childhood, a period of happiness, and the adulthood, a dull period in her life in England. We, readers, witness flashbacks to her happy childhood under the protection of her caregiver: “The thing about Francine was that when I was with her I was happy” (58). The memories from Anna’s childhood are the only scenes in the book that are described in light colors. Anna was so happy back then that she does not want to grow up and face the adulthood, and her new life in England. She does not even try to like England: “I don’t like London. It’s and awful place; it looks horrible sometimes. I wish I’d never come over here at all” (40). People tend to criticize everything about a place they do not want to be in. I remember when I came to Canada, I had the same felling, I did not like anything here, and I did not even tried. Anna does not want to grow up, and take the role of the adult: “And I knew that day that I started to grow old and nothing could stop it” (62). She probably sees in Walter a father figure, a person she can rely on so she does not have to deal with the reality all by herself. Once she accepts her reality, it will be much easier to progress in life, and not feel stuck in a world that makes you depressed.

    Marcela Seminahin


  15. As this novel goes on, things get progressively worse for Anna, the world that Anna is living in and Anna herself play a big part in her sadness. Anna never really accepts that she lives in London, so she can never be satisfied or be happy in London. She admits that “[she doesn’t] like London. It’s an awful place; it looks horrible sometimes. [She] wish [she’d] never come over here at all” (40). She claims that she “got used to England and [she] liked it all right; [she] got used to everything except the cold and that the towns [they] went to looked so exactly alike” (8). She drifts around London in a state of depression, moving from one down-at-heel room to another. She is pretending to not mind England when in reality she is upset that she is not back in the West Indies. Anna also doesn’t make the best choices when it comes to her selection of men. After her first time with Walter she became very dependent on him, “Soon he’ll come in again and kiss me, but differently. He’ll be different and so I’ll be different. It’ll be different, I thought.” (21) Anna falls for Walters but Walters was just looking for a young girl for a quick thrill. Also Anna’s financial situation doesn’t help her happiness.

    Giuseppe Gallo


  16. Things are horrible for Anna. It gets worse as time goes by, but it is her own fault. If only she would see things differently, maybe it would not be so bad. Anna grew in the West Indies, and she was happy there, because she had her family and friends. Her father loved her very much, even after he had brought Hester back home. I suppose things started to turn ugly when her father died and Hester brought her to England. Anna “didn’t like England at first” (Rhys 7), and after she had just “liked it alright [because she] got used to everything”. (8) Getting used to a place, did not necessarily meant that she loved it. Her thoughts always wandered from the reality to a dream state where she would reminisce about the happy past. Upon meeting Walter Jeffries, she finds a distraction amidst the colorless England. Though she says “to be so happy [she] cried”, that did not seem convincing, because she felt “like a fool” (71). I feel like Anna has been telling herself lies since the beginning. She thought she was happy with Walter, but she always had her negative thoughts about him; “No, I don’t like you”. It is as if her body acted against her mind. Anna was even offered a chance to get back to the West Indies, but her stubborn character felt independent and she rejected the offer as she said that “[they] won’t have to bother” giving her money and that she could “get all the money [she wanted]”. (57) She could have went back to the West Indies and be happy, but she chose not to. It is as if Anna made all those decisions to stay unhappy.

    Lissom Huang


  17. Alexa Nunziato

    Anna is a nineteen year old girl who has been living in a world she does want to be part of. Anna does not want to be in England as she feels no sense of belonging, no sense of identity, or self-worth in this place. Late at night while missing her hometown Anna says, “That was when it was sad, when you lay awake at night and remember things”(49). Would Anna have been a completely different individual if she had stayed in the West Indies? We do not know. This is one of few reasons why we cannot blame England for Anna’s worsening situation. Anna has made some wrong decisions along the way in terms of settling for Walter and this decision in itself has impacted other aspects of Anna’s life. Although Anna is not shy to say when she hates someone, being exposed to this upper class makes her feel unworthy and inferior which definitely does not motivate Anna in her new life. Even Maudie realizes Anna has changed and asks, “’What have you done to yourself!‘” (38). Perhaps Walter leaving Anna is not a bad thing after all and will allow Anna to find herself. I do not have a clear answer as to why things are going so badly, but Anna is still young and in terms of identity searching, I have no doubt she will eventually find herself like most of us her age. What is worrisome is Anna’s financial situation. She is stubborn and refuses any possible help from Hester who states she is worried for Anna (51). Being honest about her situation with Hester could have lead to a different outcome in their conversation rather than in lies. I do not blame Anna for being with Walter, we cannot understand the position Anna is in as she is broke. This relates to an entire debate on prostitution and its morality. I’m not saying Anna was forced to stay with Walter, but it offered Anna some temporary feelings of self-validation and some money for survival. I’m staying optimistic throughout the second part of the novel as I do think Anna’s encounters and new acquaintances will lead to something better.


  18. As we start reading the novel we feel from what she claims that she doesn’t seem to like London because of the cold. She is depress and missed her hometown very much. We start to find out what Anna situation is. Anna’s stepmother, Hester, isn’t to faun of Anna; “refuses to be made responsible for her”, and also claims that she will no longer be spending any money on poor Anna. But afterwards Anna gets singing lessons from Vincent but after Walter breaks off their relationship she says she hates Vincent and does not want to see him again. Instead of thinking negatively, she could be thankful to have a singing coach and enjoy that because Maudie claims a good point; “if you don’t swank a bit nothings any use” (Rhys 39). On another note, she even has a good friend named Maudie to help her out and brighten her day but she still thinks so miserably about London. Another note is her mindset that he has. Her mindset is just all negative which doesn’t help the case; “there was no sun, but the air was used-up and dead, dirty-warm, as if thousands of other people had breathed it before you” (Rhys 65). She always talk about this London in such a poor way and has these thoughts in her head constantly leading her to have bad days. Hester tries to help Anna out by paying for some of her education and bought her some” garments” (Rhys 54). But poor little Anna got to get up on the right side of bed one morning and start changing for herself even though being 18 is not easy.

    Alexander Vincelli


  19. Note: I am reading an older edition of the novel. Hence, the references and/or page numbers might not correspond to the recent one.

    As things progress in the chapters we have read so far in Jean Rhys’s “Voyage in the Dark,” Anna’s life is seemingly directed downward. I am in the position that Anna herself is to blame for the hardship she has been experiencing. The way she chooses to view situations in her life in a negative way and her discontent in the things that she possesses both contribute to her misfortune. In the beginning of her story, she said herself that she “could never fit [England and the West Indies] together” (2) as she explains how different these places are. This passage leads me to believe that she does not like, and therefore does not want to adjust in, where she is now residing—an unconstructive way to think about where one lives. Moreover, the fact that she discloses her wish “to be black” (31) proves her dissatisfaction in what she is. Also, when thinking about the fact that she does not have clothes as pretty and as many as other ladies do, she says she “was too sad to cry” (25). Anna chooses to view this fact negatively, leading her to feel ill-fated. Although it is not, or at least not so far, revealed in the novel, I am convinced that these examples of how ungrateful and pessimistic Anna is are what turned Walter off and made him decide to just allow his cousin, Vincent, to advise her that he “doesn’t love [her] like that anymore” (93).

    Mikaela Cuaycong


  20. The early 20th century was not a great time to be a woman. Society constantly policed women in all aspects of public and domestic life. At the start of my read, I thought this would be the reason behind Anna’s descent into depression. Halfway into the novel, I feel as though our beloved Anna’s own ignorance and naiveté has caused the emotional turmoil. She is a young, impressionable woman with almost no concrete morals and values. On one hand, I applaud her for not following the gender role of the time, and on the other hand I pity her carelessness and looseness. Some serious issues are brought to light when she mentions: “When you’d had a drink you knew it was the best way to live in the world, because anything might happen. I don’t know how people live when they know exactly what’s going to happen to them each day” (64). Anna’s love for adventure and spontaneity causes her to be fooled and taken advantage of by men. This quote also acquaints the reader with Anna’s close relationship with alcohol. She narrates several times that she craves drinks, and often consumes alcohol at unusual times, like when she is by herself in her apartment after Walter leaves: “I ate the soup, and then drank two glasses of wine, and then I went to sleep” (29). Equally as aggravating is that Anna recognizes that her habits aren’t normal but never does anything to change them. When she is in Walter’s room after having slept with him, she mentions, “I don’t like your looking-glass…Have you ever noticed how different some looking-glasses make you look?” (33). She knows that she is living in a suspended dream world, because the mirror reflects reality. She is unsettled by her appearance and her entire identity (or lack thereof). I think that these are the main reasons why she progresses deeper into disarray.

    Vanessa Correia


  21. Less then 100 pages into the story and we are already getting a good sense of what Anna’s character is like. We know that things do not come particularly easy to her however she does not help her cause with her attitude; she is overall a very pessimistic person. Although Anna might be a negative person I do believe that a issue regarding her attitude is London, “I don’t like London. It’s an awful place; it looks horrible sometimes. I wish I’d never come over here at all” (Rhys 40). I believe that her dislike for London makes it very hard for her to enjoy her life, living in a city that you are not fond of can be very challenging. Anna was constantly criticizing England and makes her life there more difficult then it has to be. She has put little to know effort to explore England and see what is has to offer. “I got used to everything except the cold and that the towns we went to always looked so exactly alike… Southsea, this place was” (Rhys 8). She does not make an effort to enjoy a beautiful country and therefore makes her own life more miserable. Anna’ issue with England has greatly effected her attitude however it is mainly an internal conflict since she has made no effort to enjoy the country.

    Nadav Sarid


  22. In the first part of the novel Voyage in the Dark, we learn a lot about the characterization of the main character, Anna Morgan. Anna is a young woman that traveled from the West Indies to London. She was seeking a better life in London, however, she fell in depression. London wasn’t for her. The West Indies is a place where the weather is really hot and is always sunny. In contrast, London is a dark, gloomy and foggy city. To start up, London was already a bad choice for Anna. This is one of the reasons that her life is so depressing and dark. Also, this story was probably set in the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, there was racism in London. In fact, the readers have difficulty guessing the skin color of Anna, but I believe that she is “mulatto”. In the beginning of the novel, one of Anna’s friend calls her “the silly cow.” (15) Knowing that cows are characterized by white and black patches, this could lead us to assume that Anna is probably mixed skin and due to that fact, she might have been oppressed. As a result, she feels lonely and outcast of the society. Also, Anna is young and lives almost by herself in a gigantic metropolitan. She doesn’t know what is right or wrong for her. She always takes the wrong decision and is so naïve. For instance, in a passage where Walter finds an excuse to go to London, Anna says “all right” (72). The reader could see clearly that there was something fishy in the excuses of Walter. However, Anna wasn’t too clever to see that. I feel that she doesn’t know what she wants in life. In Vincent’s letter to Anna, he writes, “you must remember too that he is nearly twenty years older than you are.” (80) This shows that Anna doesn’t know what path to choose. She is completely lost. Therefore, I believe that things are getting worse because of her own decisions. However, in a way, she is still young and learning and so the world she is living in has also a negative effect on her life.
    Ilyas Mohamed.


  23. The general emotion we get from Anna in these pages is sadness, along with a lot of negativity. I think that most of her feelings come from herself and the fact that she can’t accept to see anything with a positive outlook as long as she’s living in London. Anna experiences happiness in very few moments in the novel, all of which include Walters. In other words, Anna is a character who is miserable, living in a country opposite of what she’s used to with little to no family to lean on. Her only hope is a man named Walters, an older wealthy man who she looks to for support, economically and physically. When she’s with this man is when she’s truly happy but soon after experiencing such joy she recollects her thoughts and says “It’s unlucky to know you’re happy; it’s unlucky to say you’re happy…” (69) Anna forces herself to avoid the feeling of being happy for a reason that is unexplainable. When Walters leaves her at the end of part one, Anna surely feels a great deal of regret for not cherishing those moments with him and not allowing herself to feel happy. Despite the fact that Anna never truly expressed how much Walters meant to her, she does show us what it feels like having him gone “It was like letting go and falling back into water and seeing yourself grinning up through the water, your face like a mask, and seeing the bubbles coming up as if you we’re trying to speak from under the water. And how do you know what it’s like to speak under water when you’re drowned.”(84)

    Konstantina Vanikiotis


  24. Anna is new to England and I not used to the way things are. Obviously this is a huge change for her, having moved from the West Indies it is a complete culture shock. England is not how she imagined it to be. She even says that she got used to it but picked out certain things she disliked immediately like the cold and how every little town looks so similar (Rhys 8). From what we understand, Anna is a pessimist and is easily turned off. She constantly refers to darkness for example when she’s out for dinner with Jeffries she states, “she wore black”(19). She was quoting a book she was reading but this black colour can represent the emptiness in her life of how she’s searching for her identity in a land foreign to her. Once Walters leaves for New York, she is all alone and having cut off her step mothers financial support she is really on her own. Not being able to fit in has caused Anna to go in a downward spiral where she just becomes more vulnerable. Throughout this section of the novel she still constantly see’s the negativity. She even says, “ I was so worried about how I looked that three-quarters of me was in a prison, wandering round and round in a circle”(66). Here we see that she has not yet found a way to fit in, and is worried about her appearance more than anything. Anna is just trying to be accepted in a place where she feels uncomfortable. I’m excited to see if someone will find happiness or more darkness behind her appearance.

    Andrew Augoustis


  25. Throughout the pages 1 to 86 we can see that Jean Rhys shows us Anna as a poor person. When you are reading the story you understand that the world where she is living is blame, but Anna herself is also partially to blame on everything that is going on in her life. We can feel that Anna misses her home, West Indies. It is her love. She is changing her life just by saying “It was as if a curtain has fallen, hiding everything I had ever known. It was almost like being born again” (7). When she just got in England she programmed herself by being poor. She also doesn’t try to change anything in her life. Another scene that shows us this is when says: “That was a week after Walter left I hadn’t gone out; I didn’t want to. What I liked was lying in bed till very late, because…” (77). It shows readers again that she is doing nothing. Yes, she is relaxing and chilling, but she needs to do something in her life to have more than she does have now. The main idea is that things continue to get worse for Anna mostly because of her lag of interest in improving in herself as she only expects money and when she doesn’t have it she does nothing to get it.


  26. Anna’s sadness keeps escalating throughout the story and it becomes more and more evident that she simply cannot settle in London; it’s “cold” and gloomy. The coldness is mostly what makes her depress. Thus, she has a negative mind around everything towards most things. Even if she is living a decent life, England isn’t a peaceful place. But it gets worse. She has now to make her own expenses due to lack of family support: “[Hester] I brought you to England that I was giving you a real chance. And now that you’re beginning to turn out badly I must be made responsible for it and I must go on supporting you.” (56). Her sadness doesn’t make justice towards Hester. She doesn’t feel supporting Anna in her expenses anymore because she is incapable to make her close one comfortable in this cold country. On the other hand, she has found Walter; a wealthy gentleman. He brings her in special places. England makes Anna so anxious that even a single day in a beautiful place could overwhelm her of emotions:

    “I was so happy that I cried, like a fool.” (66.)
    “I didn’t know England could be so beautiful.” (67.)

    It is proven that she hasn’t seen a good place for a while. It is like seeing your father back from army after all these years of absence. The same applies with Anna, but with the environment instead of a family member. But her happyness is limited because she is not her own self supplying this kind of peace; her boyfriend does. After Walter’s long departure, she is left lonely and even more depressed:
    “a week after Walter left I hadn’t got out; I didn’t want to. What I liked was lying in bed till very late.”(77.) She has no possibilities to go anywhere else because no one will be able to bring her happiness. She doesn’t want to go outside simply because of the cold. I think England itself is to blame. She is not able to get used to the cold even after a year or so because it is so gloomy and industrial. That cannot be changed in her time.

    Ricardo Thomassini


  27. In the novel Voyage in the dark, things get progressively worse for Anna mainly because of herself. She is a pessimist and she often sees the bad side in everything she encounters. For example, when Anna was invited to eat with Walter, the way she analyzes the waiter and Walter as “the Brothers Pushmeofftheearth” (Rhys 18) shows us how she sees the world around her. The world she is living in doesn’t help her either because she dislikes where she lives. The protagonist affirms that by telling us that ” [she doesn’t] like London. It’s an awful place; it looks horrible sometimes. [She wishes she would] never come over here at all.” (40) She constantly reminds of where she used to live by saying that in the West Indies it was colorful and warm compared to London where it is cold and greyish. Anna decides to meet up with Walter after receiving the letter from Walter written by Vincent. The way she assumes that ” he felt very strange with me and that he hated me” (83) illustrates that she also sees things negatively even with herself. It is also very strange to me when she says “it was funny sitting there and talking like that, knowing he hated me.” (83) because there is nothing funny about seeing someone hate you.

    Amanda Ging Sze Chan


  28. I think Anna has brought this fate upon herself. I think she misunderstood the relationship between Walter and herself. She is an escort to Walter and he has no problem with that. Whether or not she understands what an escort is, is not clear. She hears from Vincent, a clear sign that Walter doesn’t want to talk to her and she does not comprehend the implications. In the letter Vincent says “Love is not everything – especially that sort of love.” (80) Anna has some idea that Walter and her are in love when it is quite clear to the reader that Walter has some other women who he is engaged with. Anna disengages from her only “family member” in England, Hester. “I wrote once to Hester but she only sent me a postcard in reply, and after that I didn’t write again. And she didn’t either.” (63) Anna becomes a very lonely person. The only contact she has is with Walter and this leads to her exaggerate the relationship she has with him.

    Thomas Leclaire


  29. A fusion between Anna herself and the world she lives in are the dominant factors for her life’s progressive deterioration. Although Anna is a stern figure the strongly opposing world around her always seems to takes control, but one can’t blame her for that. She was forced to move to England that is the absolute antonym of her sensual mother land: lacking color, blandly symmetrical, odorless and complete with an unwelcoming chill:”I was so nervous about how I looked that three-quarters of me was in a prison, wandering around and round in a circle. If he had said that I look all right or that I was pretty, it would have set me free”(66). Not only does Anna reside in a place that is basically prison, she imagines herself in a mental prison when as well, placing her in a very difficult position. Oddly enough, it feels as though Anna enjoys being in uncomfortable situations simply because it stimulates her young busy mind. She could easily go back to her beloved home, but what kind of thrill would that be? Anna is 19, full of youth and in a search for arousal, even if it means placing herself in a world of unease. This seems to be the case when she chooses to pursue relations with the dangerous figure Walter who will single-handedly ruin her life. All her actions are done without thinking, impulsively and are followed by a wave of regret. This is typical to a woman of this age who hasn’t experienced the world yet, but what she doesn’t realize is that her emotional recklessness will lead her into a world of true darkness and fear: “I’d been afraid for a long time. There’s fear, of course, with everybody. But now it had grown, it had grown gigantic; it filled me and it filled the whole world”(82). Anna is overwhelmed with fear that started growing right when she began seeing Walter. She then still agrees to meet with him after receiving a letter from Vincent saying to stay away. Theses choices can only be controlled by an infantile mind in search for attention and thrill.

    Lucas Tremblay-Moll


  30. Throughout the reading, time after time, things continue to get progressively worse for Anna. The setting of the novel begins in England, a place Anna struggles to connect to. Compared to her home in the Caribbean where every building is so colourful, Anna describes England to be greyish; “the colors were different, the smells were different, the feeling things gave you right down inside yourself was different. I didn’t like England” (1). Anna and her friend Maudie pick up two strange men while walking the streets. It’s difficult to interpret if being a prostitute was their intention, or if they spontaneously decided to go with the flow and see where things would go. Anna supports herself this way, from a man named Walter that sees her from time to time, and gives her money, sometimes even just for spending time with him, and to buy her stockings. Opportunity is a virtue. When you’re given an opportunity to make something better of yourself, or to enhance your quality of life, it’s crucial to act upon it before the chance slips through your fingers. In Anna’s case, she’s received some money from a wealthy man named Walter. Although we don’t know truly what his intentions are, Anna acts naïve and spends all the money on clothes, when she could have been saving it, or investing the money in something that will help her set up a healthy life of her own when she’s ready. When Anna felt ill, Walter sent her a letter with some money in it to buy a pare of stockings, much to her excitement; “all the time I was dressing I was thinking what clothes I would buy. I didn’t think of anything else at al, and I forgot about feeling ill” (24). Anna’s living conditions are progressively getting worse in the novel. Anna is financially unstable, making life in general much harder than it should be, especially after Hester (her step mother) tells her that she sold her fathers estate, and she can no longer support her financially. Her uncle Bo gets involved, and comes to the rescue. Anna no longer has a step mom to turn to when times get rough, saying “I wrote once to Hester but she only sent me a postcard in reply, and after that I didn’t write again. And she didn’t either” (63). Anna turns to Walter for support, later receiving a letter from his cousin Vincent; “Walter is still very fond of you but he doesn’t love you like that any more, and after all you must always have known that the thing could not go on for ever and you must remember too that he is nearly twenty years older than you are” (80).

    Chelsea Silva-Martin


  31. Anna’s pain stems from the facts that she can’t accept the change in her life. She is consistently referring back to her past back in the West Indies because she is unhappy with how her life turned when she went to England. She only sees her life now as being absent of the elements that made her happy. The weather, Francine, her home, her father and uncle. She’d lost it all when she moved. Another factor can be her nihilistic aproach to her life. Anna can point out the hypocrisy and facades of the people she is surrounded by and openly calls it out in her dialogue and narratives thus far. What’s funny is that she openly dislikes these people but she still chooses to surround herself with them. I believe that a mixture of these elements are a cotribution to her unhappiness. Her dark perspective, rejection of her reality and her place as an outcast on the outskirts of London contribute to her depression as a whole. This effects her more significantly than just one element because she sees negativity wherever she looks within her past and her surroundings. Everything that Anna loaths manifest within her creating her melancholy. She is inevitably stuck in her situation with what she sees is the absence of hope, so she drowns in it.

    Michelle Jette


  32. Throughout the novel so far, Anna goes about every day with a very obvious aura of negativity encircling her. It is hard to tell whether things keep tumbling downhill for her because she is inflicting negativity upon her life or if she carries so much negativity and pessimism with her because bad things continue to happen in her life. Of course she is going through a huge adjustment in lifestyle since moving from the Caribbean to England, and the adjustment seems to rather difficult for her to keep up with. I don’t feel as if any other characters in Anna’s life are to blame for the inconsistent mess that is her life, but I think that as Anna’s stepmother and one relative in the same country, Hester should have stepped up to help her out through this dark and unsure time in her life. It is hard enough to be a nine-teen-year-old female, but even more so when you are dirt poor in 1920s London and no responsible person to look out for your wellbeing.
    At that time, racism was very common, forcing Anna to constantly be subjected to racist remarks about black people. Nobody sees how this would insult her, but since she identifies as being black or wishes she were black, it is a blow to her ego and sense of identity. As a child all of her housekeepers were black and it was them that cared for her and took part in her cherished memories, but forced out of her life by another racist who didn’t want Anna to inherit too many ‘black characteristics’.
    While Anna struggles with her sense of identity and making ends meet in this foreign land, which by the way she finds dreadful and depressing, her desperation and loneliness lead her to make poor decisions and inevitably sell herself to get by.
    Written by Dallas Carver


  33. As we move forward in the novel, Anna’s life keeps on becoming more troubling as time goes by. I believe that Anna plays a big role in who to blame for the mishaps in her life. First off, her mindset is not committed to the London lifestyle. She is constantly contrasting her previous life in the West Indies to how it is in London. Anna does this in numerous places, especially with Walter: “[…] I was still thinking about home and when I got to bed I lay awake, thinking about it. About how sad the sun can be […] And the way the bats fly out of the sunset, two by two, very stately. And the smell of the store down by the bay.” (49) She does this also when her and Walther go away together: “‘Not quite like these.’ But when I began to talk about the flowers out there I got this feeling of a dream […]” (67) Other than her unwillingness to fully adapt to her surroundings, she also presents herself as a negative person. She refers to sentences like: “Lying so still afterwards. That’s what they call little death.” (48) She simply is a dark personality that is overwhelming compared to the postivity she does have in her life.

    Melvin Buquerente


  34. I think at this part of the novel, there is nobody else than her to blame on why her things became more worse for her. She always wants to find the negative on her life. To starts, she seems never to accept where she lives…London. She describes England: ‘It’s an awful place; it looks horrible sometimes.I wish I’d never come over here at all” (40) She always finds a way to describe her city as a city that puts people uncomfortable. When a person always describes her place as a place that looks horrible, it’s normal to be sad everytime. The only time she sees positive in her live is when she is with Walter, but at the beginning she didn’t like him to show how she always sees the negative. She seems to be more comfortable with him and maybe too comfortable. She thought there was something between them and Walter was also feeling her. For the readers, it’s was abvious that Walter sees other girls lowkey. When she got the letter from Vincent and it said that Walter is not longer down for her, that also became worse for her. I think it’s her fault because she misunderstood their relationship when it’s seems obvious that he was not serious. So I think if she changes her attitude toward positive things, she may enjoy herself because there is good things that she does but she seems not to notice.


    Alex Mukwende


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