Voyage in the Dark: Propitiating the Avengers

  • Anne B. Simpson


This exploration of Rhys’s novels begins with Voyage in the Dark, the first long narrative she drafted and the first to sound the complex Trhythms of mother–child relating as these are orchestrated in the phantastic life of infancy. Although the story of Anna Morgan ostensibly recounts her entry into adult femininity in progressively sexualized and ultimately demoralizing affairs with various men, beneath the text is another story, one that records a child’s powerful and consuming need for her mother; the desire to incorporate her mother, and then others, into herself; and the terror of retribution for such voraciousness. In charting the process by which a mask of femininity is crafted, Anna’s narrative throws into relief an infantile strategy serving interrelated functions: compensating the hungry daughter for her missing mother by attracting men to fill the empty space within her, the mask also deflects recognition of her sources of aggression so that she may be absorbed into the larger social body, no matter what the cost.


Object World Maternal Figure Hyperbolic Potential Pretty Girl Interrelated Function 
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© Anne B. Simpson 2005

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  • Anne B. Simpson

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