Hello.  My question is about Pauline Barrett.   What kind of surgery did she have?   Hysterectomy? Is she unable to have children and if that's the reason for the estrangement between her and...

Hello.  My question is about Pauline Barrett.   What kind of surgery did she have?   Hysterectomy? 

Is she unable to have children and if that's the reason for the estrangement between her and her husband. How did she kill herself?  I can't wrap my mind around the third and fourth lines either: "Till the dawn of our wedding decennial found me my seeming self again?" What does it mean? Did she get better or did she go back to being ill and fragile again? Or maybe seeming means that it only looked like she got better when in fact she hadn't.  Any feed back you have would be much appreciated.  Thanks!! 

2 Answers | Add Yours

Top Answer

jseligmann's profile pic

jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Poor Pauline Barrett had an operation from which she never really recovered. Ten years after her marriage, she feels herself to be half dead, not fully alive any more, with no vitality, no passion, no spark. Gray. Tired. Depressed.

She exists without hope of ever getting better, of being who she used to be and of being loved. Sadness and weakness have overcome her as she stands before the mirror. Sadness for what she has become and for the man she has shared her life with till now.

I see her stabbing herself just below her breastbone, but it doesn't matter how she does it. It is done quietly, a final act of resignation.

jeanwed's profile pic

jeanwed | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I agree that Pauline has had an operation from which she never really recovered.  Ten years into her marriage and about a year after her surgery, Pauline is feeling somewhat better.  She and her husband try to have a romantic evening.  They go walking and they talk, but about everything other than what is on their minds.  He has wild roses for her to place on their dinner table.  After dinner, he leaves her as he did when she was a bride so she can prepare privately for a sexual encounter.  As she looks into the mirror at her reflection she suddenly feels that this half-death that she feels is pointless, that she should be dead.  Looking at herself in the mirror, she kills herself.

I think she may have had a mastectomy because she has this awful reaction to her reflection in the mirror and the mirror would reflect her scars and lack of breasts.

She loves her husband, calls him "dear," and worries that he might never have understood why she did what she did.

I picture her cutting her wrists.

We’ve answered 318,982 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question