Jerry Huang, Thomas Leclaire
19. Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys has incredibly moving passages. “I held my arms up and the thin one put on the dress as if I were a doll” (25). Anna portrays herself as a doll. This implies she has little control over her life in her subconscious. this is evident throughout the opening pages of the novel, her step-mother, the Lady Hester has dominion over Anna from the moment her father dies. Anna is helpless and then displaced to England where she becomes an outcast in a foreign country. Anna delves into the world of prostitution where she becomes the mistress of Mr. Jefferies. She becomes a doll for him to play with any which way he wills.
20. “The streets looked different that day, just as a reflection in a looking-glass is different from the real thing.” Anna proceeds to describe the world she has grown to detest as different. She stills longs for her homeland yet with a little amount of money and some glamorous clothes she feels pretentious, the world is slightly less dark for her yet she sees through the mirage of wealth. It is essential to note that she received the money from Mr. Jefferies, Anna therefore has a corner of her subconscious that is reminding her just how she earned the money that is now making her feel slightly less depressed.
21.“This is England, and I’m in a nice, clean English room, with all the dirt swept under the bed” (27). Jean Rhys is very clever in her use of dirt in the presented quote. On the surface the dirt on the floor presents a contrasting situation where in the West Indies the floors were made of dirt and people were used to that, and in England, because of the obvious lack of vacuum cleaners, dirt was swept under the beds in order to keep the room clean. Dirt also refers to the treatment of blacks in England. In the West Indies blacks were still servants, yet there were many free black men and women, but they were present in the lives of other residents. They were respected to an extent by locals and not ignored. In England blacks were swept under the bed, they were ignored, demeaned, yet they served the same purpose. They worked as servants and cleaners, who ironically swept the dirt under the bed.
22. “I wanted to be black. I always wanted to be black” (27). Rhys uses this sentence to show Anna’s discomfort, she is out of place in England even though she is white on the outside. Because of her cultural heritage she associates with black culture of the West Indies, she therefore longs for the acceptance of that culture even though she cannot be accepted. She contrasts the white culture with the black culture saying, “Being black is warm and gay, being white is cold and sad.”