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Last Updated on February 26, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 421

She continued to look at the person who was there, unknown to Paul. How very much, after all, she existed; she, Dora, and no one could destroy her.

In this passage, Dora contemplates her reflection in a mirror just before climbing into bed with her estranged husband, Paul. The quote reflects Dora’s view of what she wants to be: confident and self-assured. This is contrasted with her immediate submission to Paul’s sexual overtures, which are more like work orders than words of passion. Dora wants to believe she is strong enough to stand on her own, but she lacks the courage to truly do so.

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Dora’s self-doubt is further captured in her relationship with Noel, the sometimes lover she has cavorted with during her marital separation:

"I can’t fight," said Dora. "I never could tell the difference between right and wrong anyway. But it doesn’t matter. . . "

Dora is quick to disclaim her own strength when Noel says he thought she was a fighter. Dora had left Imber without telling Paul to escape the boredom of the country, but an unexpected phone call from Paul to Noel’s flat startles Dora back to reality. Once again, Dora submits to her husband without his directly asking her to. This quote embodies Dora’s indecision and inability to trust her own instincts. Paul’s derisive comments about Dora are echoed in her own words here, further revealing how she lacks an independent identity.

By the end of the novel, Dora has finally rejected Paul completely and discovered what she is...

(The entire section contains 421 words.)

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