The only fully developed character in the novel is Sasha, from whose point of view the story is told. Since Sasha is troubled, at times almost schizoid, her perceptions sometimes seem vague and dreamlike, sometimes hallucinatory and distorted, and sometimes lucid with pristine clarity. In addition, characterization is effected by tone and style. The precariousness and numbness that Sasha feels, for example, is exemplified in her need to order her life into small bundles, a need impressed upon the reader by Rhys’s use of a sentence structure whose staccato arrangements of clauses and phrases make the point as much as the words do. “I have been here five days. I have decided on a place to eat in at midday, a place to eat in at night, a place to have my drink in after dinner. I have arranged my little life.”
Each day Sasha awakes, dresses, chooses a restaurant for her food, takes her Pernod at a cafe, goes to a cinema or does some other carefully planned activity (buys a hat or goes to her hairdresser), speaks only if spoken to, and goes to sleep at night with the help of a sleeping potion. Men approach her and to some she responds, but she knows that she must always be careful. Each man wants something from her, wants to use her in some way. She must be careful about the places she frequents and the streets she walks because at any time she can be plunged back into memories of painful times or, even worse, of happy times that gave way to grief....
(The entire section is 539 words.)