Phenomenological Analysis of Private Places in Modernism: Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight

Lava Asaad

Middle Tennessee State University

   Volume III, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF


To expand the scholarship on Jean Rhys’s works, this paper examines Good Morning, Midnight (1939) from a phenomenological point of view. The sense of alienation that the protagonist in the novel, Sasha, suffers from is heightened in the absence of a stable location. The lack of a house narrative in the novel, which could give Sasha a sense of belonging and rootedness, further complicates her troubled self. This paper looks at how house narratives in Victorian fiction were essential for female writers, as a place of solitude and belonging. However, Rhys’s modernist techniques in the novel depart from house motif that could stabilize Sasha. Instead, Rhys, like other modernist writers, accentuates the protagonist’s alienation through spatial loss in hotel rooms and Paris’s streets. The sense of alienation in the novel situates Rhys within late modernism when writers had cynical and fatalistic retrospect of the period between the two World Wars.

Keywords: Modernism, Jean Rhys, Gaston Bachelard, Phenomenological Theory, House Narratives.

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