Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 418
Having a trash chute was one of my favorite things about my building. It made me feel important, like I was participating in the world. My trash mixed with the trash of others. The things I touched touched things other people had touched. I was contributing, I was connecting.
Moshfegh’s unnamed narrator does not hesitate to mention that she belongs to the untouchable coterie of brilliant, beautiful women that everyone envies. She’s used to being desired and knows—or at least believes—that a separation exists between her and the rest of the world. Whether it originates in delusion, trauma, or unabashed self-awareness, the disconnect troubles the narrator so intensely that she begins to self-medicate herself into longer, deeper periods of sleep.
Oh, sleep. Nothing else could ever bring me such pleasure, such freedom, the power to feel and move and think and imagine, safe from the miseries of my waking consciousness.
I can't point to any one event that resulted in my decision to go into hibernation. Initially, I just wanted some downers to drown out my thoughts and judgments, since the constant barrage made it hard not to hate everyone and everything. I thought life would be more tolerable if my brain were slower to condemn the world around me.
As her drug tolerance increases and she becomes less responsive to sedatives, the narrator knows she’ll have to confront her underlying pathology. She needs a psychiatrist, not for diagnosis, but for treatment—more powerful prescriptions to induce more enduring unconsciousness. She will hibernate for a year. When she wakes up, she’ll be a new person. It will be a metamorphosis, or a lobotomy. Either way, the past will no longer matter. She makes her arrangements.
I plunged into sleep full force once this arrangement had been made. It was an exciting time in my life. I felt hopeful. I felt I was on my way to a great transformation.
Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I'd slept enough, I'd be okay. I'd be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.
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