Q: Why did you choose “Good Morning Midnight” as a blog title?
A: The hat scene.
• symbolism of clothing: “trying on hats” as a metaphor; Sasha’s social, emotional, economic, etc liminality/alterity as linked to her discomfort with all available options; this in turn as a modernist metaphor for our prepackaged options for life paths and social roles in an industrial world, particularly for women (“all the hats now are very difficult”)
• at the same time, rhys’ critique of male-dominated modernism; literature of alienation (rather than of inclusion, as in, say, e.m. forster)
• clothing and shopping as distinctly coded feminine and socially what this mandates for women; the shop as a “woman’s space” and Sasha’s interactions there - camaraderie, competition, sisterhood, possible sexual tensions, etc. Shopgirl as both manipulative and benevolent.
• the transformative power (or more accurately the usual lack thereof?) of fashion: Sasha will be what she wears. This as a common theme for women in both literature and film (the “makeover” story, My Fair Lady, Cinderella, etc) - what happens when this does not work out as we planned? what happens when the options are to get it right or to get it wrong? what happens when we are confronted with the uselessness of that narrative
• the strong link between clothing and memory: Sasha’s images of Paris as black overcoats, bowler hats, skirts, gloves, etc, identifying + remembering people by their clothes, etc. Consumerism both as an attempt to escape from memory but to create new ones; spending and body politics.
• note that sasha is pleased with the hat not because it draws positive attention, but because nobody stares. she looks like the right kind of woman, she passes as “normal,” if only for a moment
• so much commentary on modernity + paralysis + feminine performativity [sasha as opposite of flaneur, not an option for the woman, always the object of the sentence, existing to be looked at not to look, the pressures related to that] + capitalism —> this trivial experience of buying a hat. this stupid thing that is shopping, and how much that can say
• importance of clothing and color (the white or the blue dressing-gown?) in ending scene of the novel
• metaphors of thread and fabric as ways to trace motifs through the text