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Written by Julia Wolf
The image of weather in the text always contrasts with the mood of the main character. In the beginning of the story, at the funeral of her father, the closest and the dearest person in the whole world, Mary feels terrible, but she notes the beauty of the nature: “The sun was warm overhead, the scent of the pink may was strong in the nostrils; a joyous twittering in an adjacent bush told of mating birds, of new life in the nests, of Nature rioting in an insolent triumph”. It shows that even death is not a reason to give up, this weather foresees that everything will get arranged. And then at the end of the story, when Mary comes to the cemetery to visit her father’s grave, being completely miserable and ruined, she smells the air “loaded with the perfume of may” and singing birds and blossoming flowers and she feels that the life is going on and she will get over all her troubles because she is a strong woman of her time.
Odor of Death
This image follows Mary through all her life. First her father dies and at the funeral she realizes that it was the end of her happy and careless life and the beginning of something new, scary, unknown, she almost feels “the strange, unmistakable odor of Death, mixed with the voluptuous of waxen hot-house flowers”. This image helps the reader to understand how great her lost is. And later, when her best friend Alison dies she remembers that feeling again: “the Death, a great destroyer hand an irony which is all his own”. Nothing can be stronger and more awful than Death, and Mary understands it as no one else.
The Woman in the Glass
After Mary refused Mr. Hemming to be with him, she felt really terrible, she walked down the streets for a long time and when she came home and looked in the glass, she felt “a strange sense of dual individuality”. The other woman with haunted eyes was looking at her. And this woman wanted to be with Vincent, because she loved him and he loved her and nothing else matters. “What are we two, after all?” she asks, “Two atoms of matter, breathing, living, loving … a few more drops in the ocean of eternity.” She says that the life is short and she should appreciate every moment and she should be with him. And then, when Mary looks at the glass again, the eyes are no longer triumphant, they are reproachful: “Human life is but a moment in an aeon of time, and yet one little human lifetime contains an eternity of suffering”. This woman doesn’t want to live in a world, full of sufferings, because she is weak, and Mary, the real Mary is strong, she is the modern woman and she can handle everything.
In the great city, busy people around, they come and go, they don’t care about others. When Mary and her brother Jimmie come to London after their father died, Mary says: “there’s London! We’re going to make it listen to us, you and I. We’re not going to be afraid of it – just because it’s big, and brutal and strong”. When Mr. Hemming has come from his trip, he compares London with Niagara falls, they both are huge, but not beautiful at all, they are unique, terrifying spectacle: “Some day, Niagara have dried up, retreated, become a mere dribble among waterfalls. Some day, a London will be a handful of ruins. ” It is the place where you should struggle every day to live, to get success, and even to love, and who wins: the modern woman or the great city, is not clear, because the fight is the reason to live: “It was London that lay stretched out at her feet; majestic, awe-inspiring, inexorable, triumphant London”.
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