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Day 14

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapter XX

November 28, 2022 by Yiyun Li

Lucy seeing herself in the mirror is the same moment when Natasha sees herself in the mirror at her first ball in War and Peace. What an experience of seeing oneself anew, which is lost to us who have mirrors of all sizes, shop windows, and phone cameras.

At the risk of being irreverent and reading out of context, I must confess that this line makes me laugh so hard: M. Paul and his brother Moby-Dick, that ubiquitous, inevitable white whale.

I saw quite near, the ubiquitous, the inevitable M. Paul.

Dr. John, having fallen out of love, speaks this unforgettable, heartbreaking line, without a lover’s delusion, with a clear-eyed appraisal of the reality of class and economy.

I always understood she had no fortune; and once I had pleasure in the thought.

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