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Day 3

Chapter 2, p. 37-62 (through “The other two women looked across the street and they all watched him disappear.”)

December 5, 2020 by Claire Messud

“You must admit…that the land is nicer than the sea,” says Mrs. Copperfield: “She herself had a great fear of drowning.”As does Miss Gamelon. Miss Goering has other terrors. Facing one’s greatest fears is a serious moral challenge that can look to others simply strange.

“When people believed in God they carried Him from one place to another…God watched over everybody…Now there is nothing to carry with you…” A Godless world is desolate: “I must try to find a nest in this outlandish place,” Mrs. Copperfield decides. Memory is one answer to this conundrum.

Mr. and Mrs. Copperfield, Americans in Panama, want not to be tourists: Mrs. C notes that “The hardier tourists find that one place resembles another.” [p.48] For the Copperfields, as Flaubert said, “Not to be like one’s neighbor, that is everything.”

The prostitute who captures Mrs. Copperfield’s heart is aptly named Pacifica. “What has the absence of worry to do with beauty?” Mrs. Copperfield asks her; and she wisely replies, “That has everything to do with what is beautiful in the world.”

Daily Reading

Day 1

Chapter 1, p. 1-18 (through “She was not sure that she did not find him a bit too familiar.”)

Day 2

Finish Chapter 1

Day 3

Chapter 2, p. 37-62 (through “The other two women looked across the street and they all watched him disappear.”)

Day 4

Chapter 2, pp. 63-83 (through “Oh, I’d love to Pacifica,” said Mrs. Copperfield, running out of the room.”)

Day 5

Chapter 2, pp. 83-102 (from “When Mrs. Copperfield arrived in Mrs. Quill’s room" through “Mrs. Quill was dignified and remote and did not give her the lavish thanks which she had been expecting.”)

Day 6

Finish Chapter 2, pp. 102-121 (from “Early the next morning Mrs. Copperfield and Pacifica were together in Pacifica’s bedroom" through “Listen, your pal’s been out of the room two whole minutes already. She’s gone to look for Pacifica.")

Day 7

Chapter 3, pp. 123-142 (through “She held her hand over her heart and smiled to herself.”)

Day 8

Chapter 3, pp 142-158 (from “When she arrived at the tip of the island" through “something would happen to interfere with her departure.”)

Day 9

Chapter 3, pp. 159-176 (from “She noticed with a faint hear” through “shortly she fell into a deep sleep.”)

Day 10

Chapter 3, pp. 176-196 (from “At about five thirty on the following afternoon" through “Then all three of them politely bade good-by to Andy’s back and left the room.”)

Day 11

Chapter 3, pp. 196-210 (from “Arnold’s father had been sitting in the ice-cream parlor" through “He’s never going to listen to me,” Miss Goering said to herself.")

Day 12

Finish Chapter 3, pp. 211-End

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