Voyage in the Dark

Anna's Exploitation in Voyage in the Dark

In the novel Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys, we eventually see the character of young Anna Morgan shift from a naive chorus girl to a hardened woman who endures an unending cycle of pain and suffering. At first glance it seems that Anna is exploited by all the men she encounters in England, but a more careful reading shows that women also use and exploit Anna for their own personal gain. Without anyone to look up to or close friends to trust, Anna begins a mental decline through alcohol abuse and cheap sex, which finally brings her to rock bottom with a botched abortion that nearly kills her. It is through Anna’s eyes we can see the gritty truth of the demimonde in England and a life from which, though we would wish otherwise, she will not escape.

After the death of her father, Anna is sent as a young girl from the warm, colourful West Indies where she grew up to cold and bleak England, at the demands of her stepmother Hester. Hester doesn’t so much exploit Anna but she leaves the young girl without any opportunity or options. She was Anna’s only connection to childhood and family, but the lack of financial and emotional support has caused Anna to look elsewhere: "You won't have to give me any more money. I can get...

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