Subversive Wanderings in the City of Love: Constructing the Female Body in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight
Keywords:Jean Rhys, urban studies, gender studies, interwar fiction, British fiction
In this article I analyse the deconstruction of the public/private dichotomy in the city of Paris in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning Midnight (1939). Through the exploration of Sasha’s aimless wandering through Paris in her failed quest for romantic love, this paper aims to explore Rhys’s Paris as a city which is hostile to women who fail to perform conventional standards of femininity. These standards are in turn encouraged and set by the promise of happiness; thus, the mimicry of femininity—whether intentional or not—exposes ongoing power dynamics in gender roles, the construction of the bodies of others through political ideals of happiness and love, and the subversive potential in Rhys’s novel, even if the protagonist is crushed at the end by the private side of the emerging totalitarian regimes on the eve of the Second World War.
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