ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Clarise Lispector: "The Daydreams of a Drunk Woman"

  1. Themes:
    1. Rage against one's self
    2. Quest to understand one's identity
    3. Reality and one's self experienced as fractured and distorted
    4. Impossibility of communication with others
  2. The story has no plot.
  3. The story portrays the character's external world through her innermost thoughts and feelings. Can you provide some examples?
  4. How long does the story take place?
  5. Can you guess the woman's social status?
  6. At the beginning of the story the woman stares at her reflection in the triple mirror and sees "the intersected breasts of three women." This might look like a painting by Picasso. Can you explain how this might be the Modernist view of the self?
  7. What's the woman's relationship with her husband like?
  8. What is the woman's opinion of herself? Give some examples.
  9. Throughout the story the woman says that she is protected and saved from misfortune. But she also says that she is miserable. What do you think is the cause of her misery?
  10. Note some of the observations that the woman has of the people in the restaurant.
  11. What does she think of her body? Pay atention to the language that she uses to describe herself. Several times she refers to herself as a "lazy bitch" and a "slut". What justification is there for such a view of herself?
  12. What do you think is wrong with the woman?
  13. Do you think her view of herself is nothing more than the "daydream of a drunk woman," or is it actually real. Is this how she would see herself in a sober state?
  14. Find a good definition of "narcissism" and explain how the woman may be narcissistic.