To what extent is Susan conditioned by her physical and social environment?

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Susan's life is directed by the social dictates of a middle-class couple. When she marries Matthew, she is the center of an appropriate social set, and then she waits the appropriate amount of time before having children and moving to a house. She also feels that she must stay at home while her husband works, and she avoids "the mistake of taking a job for the sake of her independence."

Susan runs her life in a way that is eminently reasonable but that makes her feel flat and that she can't, ultimately, follow. When her husband has a one-night fling that he confesses to her, she tells herself that it's silly to care, but she clearly does. She tells herself, "intelligence forbids tears." She is forever acting the way she is supposed to act but does not feel; as a result, a great emptiness comes to occupy her, and she feels she can only be herself when she is alone in a sordid hotel room. She does not claim this space in her house. She tries to create a room for herself in her own house...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 576 words.)

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