My Mortal Enemy Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How can Myra charm others though she is bitter inside?

    Myra has a mask to hide behind. She laughs at every next incident like Nellie explains, “Untoward circumstances, accidents, even disasters, provoked her mirth.” Though it is a terrible laugh, she can always turn to it to hide whatever she actually felt. That made her a very jolly and friendly woman to everybody and everybody loved Myra Henshawe. There are “moneyed” friends whom she actually doesn’t like but they hardly see that through her laughs but they miss the sarcastic curl around the corners of her mouth. That is her tell. Myra may be bitter about the rich and educated but she also has friends she actually likes and she has her special way of letting them know that. She smiles for real around them and the sarcastic curl is missing too and that means the mask is off. Nellie, the narrator being in Myra’s good books, can pinpoint the changes in her ways around people more accurately. Nellie herself is highly fascinated with the lady full of contradictions and Myra also loves spending more time with Nellie than with her husband. She had her ways to charm just about everybody.

  2. 2

    Why is the dawn motif significant to understand the character Myra fully?

    Myra Henshawe has an eternal fascination with dawn over the Pacific. Nature is the only absolute thing that brings her peace and hope. Everything else she knows has changed with time. She wears a mask to fight the things she doesn’t like throughout the day. When she is old and weak, she loses that mask to some extent. She loves her husband only till he was well to do. With all the shifts and changes inside her and around, she turns to the dawn. The dawn, with the hopes of new beginnings and forgiveness, soothes Myra’s scars. It shows the side of Myra that remains hidden all the other times of the day. She might be this bitter woman who curses her husband, the bitter lady who kept rich people around only for their money but the dawn reveals the torn and helpless side of her personality. Dawn over the Pacific, with its beauty, brings out the best in Myra. It unveils the fact that she knows the mistakes she makes to herself and her husband but maybe she just can’t help any of it and also the fact that she seeks forgiveness for it with the promise of new beginnings at dawn.

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