Reading Response #7 (due Oct. 31)

Read until the end 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.

  • In the last line, Anna sees a “ray of light [that] came in again under the door” (159). It’s one of the first images of light we see in this novel. Rays of light are usually associated with hopefulness. Do you find the ending of this novel hopeful? Or Dark? Do you think the ray of light is genuine, or ironic? In order to answer get full marks, you must refer to a couple of events that happen in today’s assigned reading (pages 119-159).

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32 thoughts on “Reading Response #7 (due Oct. 31)

  1. Considering what is happening in the final scene of the novel it is safe to assume that the light beyond the door can be perceived as negative and positive. Since the situation Anna is in it could be seen as a hopeful light. Perhaps a new beginning like she said she wants more than anything at the moment. However, it can also be interpreted as a sign of death like most people associate it with, walking into the light. In regards to whether or not this light can be taken as genuine or ironic. Personally I consider it to be an ironic symbol because Anna’s life is so depressing and is always on a downward spiral that it is hard to take it as something genuine and positive. I believe this is for the symbolism of her death and a new cliché for a new beginning. Kind of like the light at the end of the tunnel which leads me more to thinking it is just ironic because the cliché comes off as sarcastic. Nothing ever seems to workout for Anna which truly leads me to believe that there is more irony in her life then any genuine sense of meaning.


  2. I believe the end of this novel to be more of a downer ending than either dark or hopeful, as I feel Anna is left in a state which she will likely never be able to recover from. This stems from the fact that although Anna appears to in stable condition after the attempted abortion, with her stating “‘Pain…’ but it was so long ago that I had forgotten what it had felt like” (Rhys 155), she continues to hallucinate scenes from her past, indicating that mentally, she is not stable. When the doctor says “She’ll be all right […] Ready to start all over again in no time, I’ve no doubt” (159), his statement comes off as sarcastic and improbable, primarily because much of the story revolves around the inability of most men to understand the female predicament and how they lack the fundamental knowledge of how women feel. That coupled with the fact that he says “I’ve no doubt”, when much of the novel deals with how you can never trust anyone but yourself, appears to suggest that Anna will never recover from what she has experienced. In regards to the ray of light that Anna sees, it appears to be more of an ironic take, as Anna compares it immediately to “the last thrust of remembering before everything is blotted out” (159). This comparison comes off as darker than any other passage in the chapter, as it appears that Anna is indicating that she plans on potentially committing suicide, hence the line “before everything is blotted out”. In addition, she appears in a catatonic state in the final lines of the novel, once again hallucinating but in this instance to the point that she appears unlikely to ever wake up from it ever again.

    Jerry Huang


  3. At the very end of the novel, Anna sees a “ray of light [that] comes in again under the door like the last thrust of remembering before everything is blotted out. [She lays] and [watches] it and [thinks] about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh. And about mornings, and misty days, when anything might happen. And about starting all over again, all over again…” (Rhys, 159). I find that the ending sounds hopeful because Anna’s imagining her future in a positive way or at the very least she’s trying to be optimistic. In other words, the ‘ray of light’ is serving as a symbol of hope for Anna. However, I am uncertain if the ray of light is genuine or ironic. Anna seems like she’s trying keep her head up, and she’s trying convince herself that everything will turnout alright in the end. “I’m quite all right; I’m quite all right. Of course, everything will be right. I’ve only got to pull my self together and make a plan” (122). At the same time, I get the feeling that Anna is only telling herself that to make herself feel better, but deep down, she’s actually not feeling well at all. It almost sounds like she’s lying to herself; this made me think that the ray of light was perhaps not as genuine as I thought it was. After Anna went through with the abortion, “[she] was afraid of the people passing because [she] was dying; and, just because [she] was dying, any one of them […] might stop and approach [her] and knock [her] down […]” (151). As much as Anna tries to look like she’s hopeful, she knows that she’s ‘dying’ in the inside; she’s falling apart, but she’s trying to hide it. Anna also seems to have understood that there are some things that she can’t change in life and that her destiny is one of those things that she cannot take control of. “[…] [A]s soon as a thing has happened it isn’t fantastic any longer, it’s inevitable. The inevitable is what you’re doing or have done. The fantastic is simply what you didn’t do. That goes for everybody” (140). She’s come to realize that there is really nothing she can do about what has happened to her, and perhaps that she’s meaning to move on with her life. Nonetheless, I don’t think that Anna really believes that she will be able to erase her past, and to truly “start all over again”.

    Claudia Keurdjekian


  4. I do not in the slightest way feel as though the ending of the novel is hopeful. Yes, Anna was able to get an abortion from what I understood. This is good news since she will not need to be raising a child in her unfortunate financial circumstances. However, her life has not significantly improved in any way at all since the beginning of the novel, if anything it has gotten worst. There are two important quotes I noted towards the end of the novel. Lying in the bedroom in the flat on Langham Street, Anna begins to describe England: “And the cold; and the houses all exactly alike, and the streets going north, south, east, west, all exactly alike” (152). This is exactly the same description given to us at the beginning of the novel. Anna’s point of view on the world she is living in has not changed. Whether she sees that light below the door or not, she will always be seated in the dark until she changes her perspective on her world and until she accepts the situation she is in. Secondly, Anna’s very last words describes her expectations: “And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159), as if this time will be exactly like the last. Anna has started her life all over again when she arrived to London, and now she explains that starting all over again, all over again, will be no different this time. She sounds hopeless. We can compare her dark thoughts to the time Anna read a description below a picture in Ethel’s flat, it was written:
    The past is dear,
    The future clear,
    And, best of all, the present. (127)
    All that Anna focused on though was the dark wall behind the picture. She says, “It was the wall that mattered” (127). Anna described the wall as “high, dark” (127) and followed this by explaining that the dark wall represented her thoughts on England. The light underneath the door is ironic. Even if there is some kind of hope presenting itself to Anna, Anna is not ready to grasp onto it or is not willing to. She is stuck in the dark, and in my opinion, the only way to get out would be by leaving England.


  5. After reading Voyage in the Dark, it is hard to determine if the ending is dark or hopeful. It seems that the author’s ending is open to many interpretations. At first sight, when Anna sees the light she seems to have even more obscure thoughts, according to her, hope is ephemeral ,it appears after a long time but disappears so quickly: “ a ray of light [that] came in under the doorlike like the last thrust of remembering before everything is blotted out”(159). She conveys the impression of having a glimmer of hope after the doctor told her : “She will be alright…`Ready to start all over again in no time, I’ve no doubt`(159). Even though she is going through a difficult and hallucinating phase, she clearly knows that the failed abortion has left serious physical , emotional, and psychological sequelae which can lead us to think that she will not be able to recover and start a new life all over again. If we look carefully, we can notice that it can be seen as a brutal ending where the parcel of light is incredibly small compared to the invasive darkness and sorrow destiny. I believe that the ray of light is ironical , since the protagonist always had a pessimistic point of view, she always criticizes everything and everyone and never took the time to appreciate or at least enjoy good moments in her lifer while focusing only on the negative aspects of life. Clearly, she is trying to persuade herself that this symbol may be the light at the end of the tunnel, which can be interpreted as the ending of her suffering and the breathing of fresh air of her new life. During the novel, she takes life lightly and nothing seemed to worry her, however Anna changes drastically after the abortion. The pessimistic protagonist is now trying to be patient and less harsh with herself regarding her life that was once gloomy and dark. For instance, when she got out of the taxi before meeting Vincent to tell him that she was pregnant, she tried to give herself some hope and courage to face life’s challenges : “Of course it will be alright. Something will happen when I’m better , and then something else, and then something else. It will be alright”(146).This passage is similar to the last ending sentence: “And about morning , and misty days , when anything can happen . And about starting all over again, all over again(159), once again she’s constantly trying to remind herself that after this difficult and gruelling reflections of darkness of her unfortunate fate and that she will get through it and move on. Indeed, the abortion has allowed her to escape a miserable life, and gave her hope for a slightly better future than before. However,it looks like she’s waiting for something that will help her change her life,nonetheless she knows that even if she starts her life all over again it will be the same as it was before ; sad and tenebrous. Hence, her life seems to be unanimated,lifeless…

    Leila Bencherif


  6. The light at the end of the novel, Voyage in the Dark, is dark yet freeing for Anna. Anna is trapped in a country that she is not at all accustomed to and she has no way of leaving due to her financial position. The ray of light that shes sees represents the end of her struggles, “I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again.” (159) Obviously Anna is unhappy with her life and she does try to change that, “For several days after that I kept on planning to leave London” (136) Anna does want to go back to the West Indies but without the money to do so she is stuck. Although she does get an abortion, it is known that the procedure was very dangerous at the time the novel is set. The ray of light represents the light at the end. The idea that Anna is finally free from the life that was thrust upon her is hopeful yet in an extremely dreary and dark manner.

    Thomas Leclaire


  7. In my opinion, the ending of Voyage In The Dark is somewhat hopeful based on Anna’s description. As a reader, we are able to sense the changes in Anna’s character in the tone used in the last section of the novel. The ray of light at the end is genuine and the feeling of hope is illustrated several times throughout the last forty pages. When Anna says in the beginning of the chapter, ‘’ it was warm that november… ‘’ ( Rhys 119), this contrast from the begining of the novel where she refered London as ‘’cold’’ and ‘’gray’’. Then, her encounter with Mrs. Robinson contrasts with the other characters as well. Not only does Anna appeal to be more positive by emphasizing on the things that she likes (such as the beautiful mimosa that she sees) but she also tries to repel her judgemental-self by constantly repeting : ‘’ She’s awfully clever. Laurie says she’s awfully clever’’ (150) . The narrator says, ‘’ I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh’’ (159). This shows us a rebirth of Anna as well as a ‘’repartir à nouveau’’. She is like a new born baby that has nothing to lose. The mature young lady believes that nothing can be worst then the all the pain she has felt after and during the abortion processes.
    Amanda Ging Sze Chan


  8. I tend to believe that I am an optimistic person, and always hope for the best for each individual that comes in life whether is in reality or by reading a book. Anna, the main character from the “Voyage in the Dark” by Jean Rhys, is not an exception. Somewhere I relate with Anna, and identify with her feelings that she is not in the right place. Nevertheless, Anna does not let her past behind, and often prevents her from moving forward. By the end of the book I could see that Anna slowly was letting her past go, and she feels happy: “[Ethel] This is a bit of change – you laughing” (123). She even would sing in one of the scenes, different signs and actions that allude that Anna finally sees some hope, and light at the end of the tunnel: “Up in the bedroom I started singing” (132). However, the pregnancy happened, and her whole world turned up side down, she had to start over again raising from the dark. I want to believe that the ray of life, Anna sees at the end, is that ray of hope, and she is eager to start everything again with new perceptions and expectations from life: “And about being new and fresh… And about starting all over again, all over again” (159). When I got to the end of the novel a quote that I saw somewhere came into my mind: “The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.” I want to be optimistic, and believe that Anna will take her life in her own hands, and will be able to see the positive in life, and take the best from it.

    Marcela S.


  9. Throughout the novel, Anna is depressed and considered hopeless. Everything she describes is dark, “The room still and dark and the lights from the cars passing across the ceiling in long rays, and saying, ‘Oh please, oh please, oh please…’” as if the rays of light from the cars on the ceiling are looking for a way to escape and consume her, and make her see light in more than just rays in the dark room (132). This moment, can also be a foreshadow of the end of the novel when she notices “the ray of light” that “came in again under the door” which can indicate her future of how she will notice more light in her life than the dark, and no matter how bad the situation is she can overcome it, as her abortion that seemed to be resolved (159). However, “the ray of light” only came in “when their voices stopped,” the doctors and Laurie, therefore as she “watched it and thought about starting all over again,” this can indicate a new beginning of her walking through another track and getting away from the people who surrounded her with these prostitution ideas, maybe they were the toxic people in her life which concludes her to only seeing the worse things in life (159).

    Julia Graziani


  10. At the end of the novel, Anna sees a “ray of light [that] came in again under the door” (159). I believe this can be interpreted as an ironic ray of life. Throughout the novel, Anna is nothing but negative and depressive. There are several different instances where we can see Anna’s “dark” side showing. The light coming from the other side of the door can symbolize the life she could have had but missed. When she was talking to Vincent about her pregnancy she stated, “Its not that I make a fuss about it. It’s that sometimes I want to have it and then I think that if had it, it would be… it would have something the matter with it” (147). Here Anna thinks that if she were to have the baby, others would judge her for having a baby and not knowing who the father is. However, she seems to maybe actually want the baby in saying “sometimes I want to have it” because she would finally have someone to care for, stay by her side all the time and someone to love unconditionally. Therefore, I believe the light is ironic, she finally has the chance to make a change in her life (and maybe for the better) and she’s pressured to have the abortion by everyone else. She loses the opportunity to a new life, the life that’s shining through the other side of the door and now her life is reverted to how it was before the pregnancy; living in dark and cold London, moving constantly and often bringing home random men. After her abortion “Everything was always so exactly alike” (152), her life returned to the depressive one she had since moving to England. Hence, her life before and after is “all exactly alike” (152).


  11. I believe the ending of novel is rather dark in the reader’s eyes but Anna is trying to look at it as a sign of hope. From the readers perspective, we see throughout the novel that nothing really goes Anna’s way there was nothing positive in her life that made the novel climax, every guy she was with used her, she would move constantly around London , her family wants nothing to do with her, we learn as well that Anna was raped “I’m too old for this sort of thing…his face turned white”(Rhys 156) and finally, she’s pregnant and has no idea who the father is “Like seasickness….now?” (Rhys 138). While getting the abortion at the end of the novel Anna sees the light as a sign of hope, maybe a new beginning or a fresh start but to my perspectives I see the “light” as like dying, I honestly don’t see things turning around for Anna because it’s not meant to be for her. I don’t think she is literally dying but after the abortion any little life Anna has left will die. However, Anna thinks things will turn around for her, the only way I were to see this happening is if Anna were to move from London which we all know won’t happen because she has no money. A move from London can ultimately be a fresh start for her because wherever she goes no one will know who she is and she can start a brand new and honest life without the baggage she’s been carrying around her whole life.

    Anthony Sciola


  12. In my opinion, part 3 of this novel is more hopeful than dark. At the beginning of part 3, Ethel gets extremely angry at Anna and wants her to leave her flat. Anna should willingly want to distance herself from Ethel because of the things she’s said to her. We see Anna take matters into her own hands and be hopeful for her future when she tells herself that “You’ve got to think of something. You can’t stay here. You’ve got to make a plan.” (128). She lacks money and support which makes it extremely difficult to take action, but her mindset of wanting to get out of this terrible situation is a good start. Anna begins to dream in a positive way, which is illustrated when she states, “Imagining Carl would say, ‘When I leave London, I’m going to take you with me.’” (134). She’s always wanted to leave London, and she’s hopeful that she’ll soon get the chance to do this with Carl. Anna finding out she’s pregnant takes a toll on her, and the fact that Ethel sends Laurie a letter stating only bad things about Anna, such as the she’s deceiving, a liar, and many more, doesn’t help the situation. Even after hearing all of this, Anna goes on to be hopeful and state, “Of course it’ll be all right. Something will happen when I’m better, and then something else, and then something else. It’ll be alright.” (146). Her typical depressing mentality is forgotten about here when she seems rather hopeful about her future. Even Vincent suggest to Anna that it would be a good idea to “Pull [herself] together and try to forget about the whole business and start fresh.” (147). In addition to this at the very end of the novel when the ray of light finally comes in under the door, she says “I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh.” (159). This was a very hopeful way to end the novel, and if Anna could act on this it would benefit her tremendously.

    Sara Vetere


  13. In these last few pages, I believe that that the ending is hopeful. We can interprete this in many ways, but I feel Anna’s ways of seeing the world is slowly changing. To me, to be happy is a question of perspective. If you want to be happy, you need look at the brighter things in life and not simply the bad things. After having a her operation for an abortion, Anna was in her appartment and she says ” The room was nearly dark but there was a long yellow ray coming in under the door form the light in the passage. I lay and watched it. I thought, I’m glad it happened when nobody was here because I hate people’ (155). This is the first time that Anna mentions light and it is as if it relates to her abortion. The fact that it was a success, for her it’s a sign that she can start over to have a better life. Anna reminices memories about her family judging the masquerade of the black people and even recalls Walter words: “My darling musn’t woory my musn’t be sad” (158). This confuses me a little because I don’t quite understand why is she remembering all of this but it made me think as if she’s like she’s remembering everything from her past just like when people do before they die. It probably symbolizes a closure with all the bad and dark things in her life by describing it as if she was dying. She is finally leaving it all the negative things behind to be born into a new and better person. The last few lines of the book shows a bit of hope as watches that ray of light under the door and says: [I thought]… about morning, and misty days, when anything might happen. And about starting all over again, all over again… (159). The fact that she says anything might happen symbolizes possibilities, therefore in a way she is telling herself that she has a chance to get back up and make a better life then what she has been living. She even said that she has fallen for a longtime and that is her realization of how she kept herself in the dark for too long. This concludes, the ray of light under the door represents hope for Anna.


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

    In the final pages of Jean Rhys’s “Voyage in the Dark,” the protagonist sees a “ray of light [come] in […] under the door” (188). I understand this appearance of light as very ironic. After finally having an abortion, which I understood to be unsuccessful since Anna felt “awfully giddy” (184), she is home and hears her friend Laurie speaking with her new landlady. Until that time, she is still very ill and resolved to close her eyes after having some gin, which is when she hallucinates about her childhood in the West Indies (184-185). Even as the doctor comes and says, “She’ll be alright […] ready to start all over again no time” (187), Anna is still very unwell. Since this is the first and only time that light is introduced in this dark novel, I am convinced that the reason for this is to present irony. Throughout the story, we’ve only been seeing Anna riding a roller coaster ride that’s only going down. She does not have what she wants—pretty clothes, darker skin, Walter—and just before the abortion, she had what she does not want—a baby. Therefore, even if the incorporation of light in the last paragraph of the novel might seem to be positive and hopeful, I am convinced that Rhys is up to something else—she uses light to represent something completely contrary: death.

    Mikaela Cuaycong


  15. The ending of the novel can be interpreted in different ways for example some people could have not understood anything just because she mentions a masquerade and others could have understood that she was pregnant all along and was getting an abortion at the end of the novel and Anna was talking about what she was thinking with the baby. The novel was not as I expected it to end and it wasn’t my type of read as well. At the end of the novel Anna claims to see a “ray of light that came in again under the door” (159). Anna sees this while she is with the doctor. The ray of life for me was a symbolization of what she could have had with this baby. “And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159). The baby could have brought her some hope in the world and give her a reason to work hard and start fresh and maybe move away. She will need money for this but she can always ask to burrow. Throughout the novel Anna is negative with herself and most of the time has a dark frame of mind for example not seeing any bright side from living in London. The light could have been a “life savior” in other words and turn her life around. “Its not that I make a fuss about it. It’s that sometimes I want to have it and then I think that if had it, it would be… it would have something the matter with it” (147). This statement she says, she does think to keep it sometimes but it would be hard for her to live with it in the sense that people might judge her because she is young and has a baby with no dad but in those days it might have been alright. Therefore I believe that the light ray had a meaning of hope and was like a “tease” to make her think what she could have had with the baby.

    Alexander Vincelli


  16. By reading the last few pages of the novel I can start to see a change in Anna’s attitude towards her life in London. It may not be a very visible one but by paying attention to her words I was able to notice a couple of moments where I saw that positivity was growing on her. For instance, while observing the room in which she was in at the beginning of the chapter she notices that “The window would be open because it was warm that November…” (119) which is a strange thing for Anna to say since she’s always considered London a very cold and boring place. Warmth is identified with feelings like comfort and happiness which we can say about this moment. At the very last paragraph of the book, Anna’s change of perspective is evident when she sees “a ray of light [that] came in like the last thrust of remembering before everything is bottled out.”(159) This is particularly important not only for ray of light but for what it means to Anna. For her it was the moment right before she decides to “bottle out” her past in the West Indies as well as her negative feelings towards London, to finally be happy again. Right before this part, she’s dreaming about her life back home in a very distorted way, almost like she’s forgetting what her home looks like. She mentions the phrase “starting all over again” (159) several times which indicates her persistence of wanting to be herself again. She also mentions “mornings and misty days” (159) which leads me to believe that she’s not planning on movie away from London. Anna’s days of Voyaging in the Dark are over.

    Konstantina Vanikiotis


  17. Although the “stream of consciousness” type ending is obscure, I believe there is no room to interpret any genuine hope. Anna is at the darkest point in her entire life; she is vulnerable and broken. While she does catch a rare glimpse of light, it is coming from another room. As is the pattern, she relishes in the darkness and acknowledges that the world of light is one from which she is always bound to be excluded from. She declared herself doomed since her move to London and let this pessimistic frame of mind lead her to making questionable decisions.
    When Anna is discussing abortion with Laurie, she mentions, “[I] was thinking round and round in a circle that it is there inside me, and about all the things I had taken so that if I had it, it would be a monster” (143). The baby in many ways is symbolic of her own descent. As soon as Anna suspected the pregnancy, she took immediate dangerous measures to abort. I feel as though this represents the depletion of any possibility of hope and happiness. She wishes desperately to abandon the depression, yet feels as though happiness isn’t attainable or even worth attaining because she has already made so many errors.
    Another example of hopelessness lies in the confrontation with Carl, when he calls Anna a swine and a bitch for rejecting his sexual advances. After the misogynistic asshat leaves her apartment, she is overcome with malaise and philosophizes that “As soon as something has has happened it isn’t fantastic any longer, it’s inevitable. The inevitable is what you’re doing or have done. The fantastic is simply what you didn’t do” (140). The ray of light from under the door is simply the fantastic. It represents what could have been but never was and never will be. She lives her life in the inevitable, because she never takes it upon herself to change her circumstances. She is resigned, and as aggravating as it is, change is unlikely.

    by Vanessa Correia

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  18. Overall the novel Voyage in the dark is a dark novel throughout the majority, however in the final scene we are given a slight glimpse of light from under the door that can be interpreted in several different ways. Anna lives a difficult life, things rarely go her way and she struggles to enjoy the life she has. We know that she is at times unstable “‘Pain…’ but it was so long ago that I had forgotten what it had felt like” (Rhys 155). she hasn’t felt normal in a long time and she makes it very clear. Anna doesn’t enjoy her life in London and we get the sense at the end of the novel that she will be stuck there the rest of her life. This will keep her unhappy, and makes the ending to the story quite dark. The reader was looking for the happy ending for Anna and I believe the first time she has to do to ensure her happiness is move away from London. The ending to the novel is one that is in no way hopeful.

    Nadav Sarid


  19. During the entire story we can see that Anna is seeing everywhere and everything dark and bad, but at the end of the story we see some change and we can see that the ending of this novel will be hopeful. When Anna says “Ray of light came in again under the door” (159) this shows us that everything should be good after the ending of the story. We see that everything is turning to be good in just a few scenes at the end of the story. For example, when Anna receives the invitation from Ethel to leave with her and to work also with her, to do manicure. This is a representation of a light in Anna’s dark life that gives her hopefulness that she will have a better future. Also, we are seeing that Anna starts to use light colours and colourfull colours in her description of what is going on around. She uses a few times “red”, “blue”, “yellow”, “all the colors of the rainbow” (157). This makes us feel that she feels better. I can assume that if this story will continue it should be a good ending for her, and hopefully she will be fine with her baby and Walter will still give her money at least.

    Karyna Statko


  20. I believe that the rays of light mentioned by Anna is actually ironic, she is referring that she will relive similar experiences after she gets out of the hospital. It is quite evident that Anna is pregnant, but I am not sure if she is having an abortion or a child. My bet is on having an abortion which makes sense because she says at the end “And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159) This passage means that after having the abortion, she will meet new men, and one of them will make her pregnant and Anna will have no choice to have another abortion and so on. It is basically a repeating cycle she will be living. Some signs that she was living similar experiences as in the beginning of the story and that she hasn’t changed much compared to then are that; she is still around people who rely more on money than people such as Ethel or Laurie. Anna still has that same negative personality: “I hated the way she smiled, I hated the way she’d say, ‘Did you have a good time? Did you enjoy yourself.’” (134) She is still dependent on people such as Ethel, but now she is no longer accepted into Ethel’s house because of her attitude. And ends up with Laurie. It is exactly what Ethel wrote on her letter, “She is not the sort of girl who will ever do anything for herself.” (143) Anna tends to get help from other, being taking care of. She asks for money from Walter whenever she needs it. The protagonist also keeps on thinking about her home country: “I kept on thinking about the sea” (141) and when she is semi-unconscious when having the abortion, she is dreaming about her times in the West Indies.

    Hersi Nur


  21. In the last line, Anna sees a “ray of light [that] came in again under the door” (159). Light is often described as hope, like in scenario where you find the light in a long dark tunnel. But on the other hand going to the light can also be dark in the sense that your time is coming to an end. Anna goes very ill after the abortion but the doctor is reassuring that Anna is going to get better; “She’ll be alright […] ready to start all over again in no time, I’ve no doubt.” (159). Anna is unwell. She hallucinates, her mind fills with scenes of the masquerade in the Caribbean of her childhood, recent seductions, and the dark room that she is in. this could be her finals thoughts before she passes away. “[She lays] and [watches] it and [thinks] about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh.” (159). This could be her actually healing and starting fresh somewhere else but on the other hand this could also be Anna passing away and starting fresh in her afterlife. I think Rhys does it on purpose to leave the ending of this novel so open to interpretation, it can easily go either way.

    Giuseppe Gallo


  22. To start off, I find this book really hard to understand. And the ending… it doesn’t help me understand what is going on. Throughout this book, the reader has an image of Anna’s personality. She is clearly an pessimistic individual. She always sees everything as dark and cold. In fact, I think that dark and cold are the two words that she uses the most. Also, as I was reading the novel, I was perceiving Anna as a childish character. In the letter Ethel wrote, she talked about how Anna is independent and naive: “She is not the sort of girl who will ever do anything for herself.” (143) She seems so confuse and do not know what she is doing in life. As the reader is getting toward the end of the novel, we start seeing the word light. Usually, light is a symbol of hope and happiness. Anna says, “The light and the sky and the shadows and the houses and the people – all parts of the dream, all fitting in and all against me.” (134) At this moment, Anna sees hope as a dream. She thinks that there is no hope and happiness for her. It was only a dream. Happiness and hope were against her. In contrast to the end, Anna utters, ” The ray of light came in again under the door like the last thrust of remembering before everything is blotted out.” (159). In this last paragraph, for once, Anna is optimistic. Finally, she is ready to cooperate with life. Life isn’t easy. You need to find your pathway to the best and happy lifestyle. Anna also adds ” I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh … And about starting all over again, all over again …” (159). Taking these lines in consideration, I believe that the ending is hopeful. Also considering the last line is “all over again” repeated twice, I really believe she is genuine. Anna is ready to make a change for herself. As she came in London, Anna followed the wrong path and leaded her to here. Now she is going to dig her own pathway and found happiness for herself.

    Ilyas Mohamed


  23. Although Anna’s life as a whole is in a constant degradation it seems to me that her attitude undergoes a slight change; she is slowly coming to terms with her reality. Ironically, her reality seems more like a fantasy with the never ending trials and tribulations right up to the extremity of the novel where she goes through a dangerous procedure by a careless doctor. Given her circumstances she still manages to find that light shining through the seam of the door, a slither of hope: “You look at everything and you don’t see it only sometimes you see it like now I see–“(158) Earlier in part two, she even begins to laugh when the man with Ethel breaks the leg of the couch and is burned by the boiling water that was dropped. I did not think it was possible for her to laugh; weather or not the laugh was a laugh of desperation or happiness is another story, but a laugh is a laugh: As soon as I got out of the room I began to laugh, and then I couldn’t stop. It’s like when you haven’t laughed for a long time”(122). This has to be a sign of some sort of happiness, she found a positive in something that was bound to end in Ethel scolding her or having to clean up the mess, a negative. Another pretty clear symbolism that some sort hope is in the horizon is the picture that Anna sees in one of Ethel’s room: “The past is dear, the future is clear, And, best of all, the present”(127). I don’t think there is a quotation that more heavily applies to Anna’s current situation. Yes, she will always cherish her beautiful times in the West Indies, her future seems to be hopeful, but the present is what matters the most; the way she sees her life good or bad.

    Lucas Tremblay-Moll


  24. I believe the symbol of the ray of light is for a new beginning in a way. She had just expected an unwanted pregnancy and was able to recover from it. But the fact that she is still drinking like she does and is still in the same mind set at it was throuout the novel and she hasn’t found a better way to come with her problems. The real question is if she will learn to change after these experiences, or whether she will let her go down deeper in her depression. I think Jean Rhys left this on a tangent so as to give the reader a choice on what Anna would do with herself, like putting the reader in Anna’s shoes. I believe that the ending is a symbol for possible change and whether it’s dark or not is in the eye of the beholder and their interpretation of what they want for Anna or more or less what Anna would do. She says as the last line “about starting all over again, all over again.” She never states a positive or negative start, just a new foot where the journey was dark but the destination is not all clear. She can decide to change herself, or keep on the way she is but she know that was not a good thing for her. I think the ending is supposed to be unclear and confusing because that’s how she feels constantly, the ending is a reflection of herself and whatever she believes she will do with that.


  25. Anna has experience an unfortunate series of events in her life, by the end of the novel we can’t help but feel sympathetic for her when she’s in her most vulnerable state of mind. In my opinion, the “ray of light [that] came in again under the door” from the other room symbolizes dark irony. The rays of light remind Anna of her daily struggle, and the lack of joy in her life, however it motivates her; “I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh. And about mornings, misty days, when anything might happen. And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159). Some readers may interpret this as the kind of motivation to try and make the best of a bad situation, but my interpretation is she’s had enough of being at the bottom, feeling worthless. The repetition of “all over again” really emphasizes that she wants to start from scratch, no London, no Walter, no baby, just a fresh start to life with new opportunities and money to buy her happiness. She focuses all her energy on trying to be somebody she’s not, trying to fit into societies idea of sophisticated, yet sexy. She tries countless amount of times to manipulate what people think of her, by altering her appearance, because she’s ashamed of herself. After a failed abortion, I think she’s giving up on herself and the baby. The ray of light is used to represent the light at the end of the tunnel; death by suicide. Or perhaps it’s the opposite, and her newborn baby is giving her the opportunity to a fresh start, carrying her own child that will love her unconditionally, maybe she won’t feel the need to get attention from harmful men because her child will fill the void.

    Chelsea Silva-Martin


  26. In the last scene, the doctor casually says ” (…) ready to start all over again in no time, I’ve no doubt” (159). I believe he meant that Anna could start working again very soon which is a very crude and dark thing to say to a girl who’s just had an abortion. The subtext in this scene is very strong because though the doctor can guess what truly happened he doesn’t say anything about it. Anna’s last thoughts in the novel also mirror this hopeless and dark feeling: “And about being new and fresh. (…) And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159) When she says she will be new and fresh she explains how her clients won’t care about what’s happened to her and will still view her like a shiny new object. The ray of light cannot be optimistic because there is no hope at the end of the novel. In fact, I think it represents the opposite: the loss of all hope and the realization that she will never go back to being the person she used to be in the West Indies. The last few pages of the chapter where Anna remembers moments from her past and the Masquerade are very tumultuous and are a metaphor for her descent into prostitution throughout the book.

    Neta Fudim


  27. In the final passage of the novel, Anna sees a ray of light shining under the door. Anna does not make many references to light throughout the novel so as a reader it would be uncommon for her to express some sort of positivity. Therefore I find this quote ironic since Anna is not ready to really see what this ray of light represents. In the final paragraph of the book she sounds very hopeless and we can see this through repetition of the idea, “starting all over again” (159). If she is repeating herself, Anna must be questioning herself and finally unsure or not ready to take on what life will offer her next. Even in the last chapter she is still complaining about not adjusting to the London life, Anna says “Everything was always so exactly alike – that was what I could never get used to” (152). She still has the same mentality from the very beginning of the novel. She paints this very negative portrait of London and repeatedly expresses this thought. How can Anna have any hopefulness when she’s just stuck in the past? Her time in London could of taught her some valuable lessons about being all alone and trusting herself but she would rather live in her memories to avoid her own pain. By the last chapter we should have seen some change of thought in her character, yet she remains similar to when we met her and therefore cannot grasp the true meaning of the ray of light she sees. I believe once she lets go of the past that is creating a dark cloud over her life will she be able to see the light.

    Andrew Augoustis


  28. I felt like the end of the novel can be interpreted in many different ways, mainly that the “ray of light” could signify hope for Anna or it could be also one of her many ways of being sarcastic, ironic as well. I personally think that the latter is more probable if we take into consideration the mood and tone used throughout the novel. Since Anna’s journey is very dark and painful, I feel like the ray of light that is supposed to represent hope for a new start, but that idea of hope is so outrageous for Anna that she is being ironic in that scene. It could also be attributed to the fact that it is said that we see a ray of light when we are dying, which could be why Anna refers to this ray of light; she sees death coming, not hope. “I’m quite all right; I’m quite all right. Of course, everything will be right. I’ve only got to pull my self together and make a plan” (122). I found that this passage illustrates that she might realize that the right thing to do would be to see that there is hope and that she could alternate her life and make it better, but just the repetition used in this passage shows us that she is trying to convince herself in a way; she had a really hard time believing what she is telling herself and that there is any hope at all.  There is also a passage where we could see that Anna might be experiencing a moment of hope and where she might see a way out of the mess she put herself in: ‘’ I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. And about being new and fresh’’ (159). Although this passage might be interpreted in the way just mentioned before, I feel like this is not the case. I sense that Anna is sort of lying to herself and she realizes it, like she means to get better but she finds comfort in the dark and painful. She has been through so much agony that she probably does not think that it could get worse, this might make her feel better in her misery. I feel like she might say she wants things to get better, but that she knows she has been through too much to ever hope for a better life.

    Savana Di Quinzio


  29. The end of the novel did seem hopeful for Anna’s future. The ray of light was genuine for Anna because this showed the first time when she actually had hope for herself during the entire novel. Throughout the novel Anna always saw things as dark, gray and gloomy. This may have been a reflection of how Anna saw her future while living in London. To her the past was beautiful and sunny and she did not think her future would be the same. In the end after going through the difficulties she faced Anna was able to realize that she was given a second chance to make her life better. In the end of the novel Anna thinks to herself “When their voices stopped, the ray of light came in again under the door like the last thrust of remembering before everything is blotted out. I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again” (159). Anna finally believed that she could make her life better and that her future was in her hands now and that she could make a difference in her own life. In a way it could be perceived that getting rid of the fetus was like her letting go of all the bad that had happened to her and now starting a new. It took something life changing for her to understand that she needed to make a change and take responsibility for what situations she had ended up in.

    Natacha Colimon


  30. After reading Voyage in the Dark and getting to know Anna’s character, I do not believe that the ray of light might necessarily be a positive thing but more of a sign of relief, of new beginnings. Throughout the book, Anna’s character hides deeper and deeper into a place of darkness whether it is a mental place or a physical place i.e. her bedroom. At page 128, when she is greeted by Ethel with an offer of breakfast and getting out of bed, Anna lies in order to further seclude herself: “I was all right really – only damned tired, worse than usual.” (128) Being tired is very common with depression. Nevertheless, after going through the dark experience of getting an abortion, she sees a light. One might believe that going through that mental and physical pain might push a person overboard into total darkness. This suggest that there may be a future for Anna. In her final words of the novel she states the same thought: “I lay and watched it and thought about starting all over again. About being new and fresh. […] when anything might happen, And about starting all over again, all over again…” (159) Anna does not seem too positive, but she knows that this is not the end of her story, wherever it may lead her.

    Melvin Buquerente


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