Written in a matter of weeks, Reflections in a Golden Eye demonstrates the range of McCullers’s talent. Here she goes beyond the realism that made her first novel so endearing and delves into a surreal world of dark, psychic impulses. Passions seethe beneath the rigid but fragile surface of military life on an Army post in peacetime. Six characters figure in the story.
Captain Weldon Penderton, an impotent, middle-aged man with homosexual inclinations, is married to the beautiful Leonora, daughter of the fort’s former commander. Leonora is having an affair with a neighbor, Major Morris Langdon. Langdon’s wife, Alison, cut off her own nipples with garden shears while mourning the death of a deformed baby. Morris and Leonora pass the time riding horseback and making love in a blackberry patch, while Alison, a virtual shut-in, spends her days listening to classical music with her Filipino houseboy, Anacleto.
Private Williams, a mysterious young man with an affinity for animals, becomes Leonora’s favorite stable boy. He cares for her high-spirited stallion, Firebird. One afternoon, while Williams is sunbathing nude on a rock in the woods, Weldon, a poor horseman, takes Firebird out for a ride. As Williams looks on, the stallion breaks into a gallop that Weldon cannot control. Losing his balance, he slides out of the saddle and is dragged some distance. When Firebird finally stops, Weldon whips him viciously with the branch of a...
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