Jean Rhys (1894-1979) a West Indian writer. Discuss how Rhys' style and thematic concerns in this passage are reflective of the period studied.
The extract from Good Morning, Midnight, by Jean Rhys starts off with the entrance of "an old Englishwoman and her daughter", told to the reader by the omniscient narrator written in first-person. This extract is written in a stream-of-consciousness as there is some attempt of presenting to the reader what is going on in the mind of the narrator himself, as well as the characters presented in the extract. This stream-of-consciousness style is typical of the period studied.
Another feature typical of the period studied is the black humour used.
A possible thematic concern of the extract is how alike a mother and daughter could be.
The "old Englishwoman" is most probably suffering from an illness, which has resulted in her having "a while bald skull with a fringe of grey hair"
There is a famous saying which goes: 'The Eyes are the windows to the soul'. Throughout the extract, through Rhys' repetitive use of the imagery of "eyes", it is able to reveal to the readers that many things do not need to be spoken to be heard and a person's thoughts can be ascertained by looking in his or her eyes. This can be seen in the extract where "The daughter's eyes meet mine in the mirror. Damned old hag, isn't she funny? … I stare back coldly". From here, it can be seen that the daughter did not use any form of verbal communication to the narrator, but with her eyes, she managed to portray her feelings across, which reflects the character of daughter as one who is neither filial nor respectful towards her mother. By staring "back coldly" at the daughter, the displeasure towards her by the narrator is shown. Also, the "old Englishwoman" is seen one with "gay, bold eyes" and "undaunted" eyes. This shows the character of the "old Englishwoman" and what she is...
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