As We Are Now: A Novel by May Sarton

By May Sarton

A robust and lovely novella of 1 girl, consigned to a dreary retirement domestic, who wages a defiant conflict opposed to the dulling forces round her

After seventy-six-year-old Caro Spencer suffers a center assault, her kin sends her to a personal retirement domestic to attend out the remainder of her days.

Her reminiscence transforming into fuzzy, Caro comes to a decision to maintain a magazine to record the day-by-day goings-on—her emotions of confinement and tedium; her mistrust of the home’s proprietor, Harriet Hatfield, and her daughter, Rose; her pity for the extra incapacitated citizens; her resentment of her brother, John, for leaving her on my own.

The magazine entries describe not just her frustrations, but in addition small moments of beauty—found in a welcome stopover at from her minister, or in looking at a fowl within the backyard.

But as she writes, Caro grows more and more delicate to the informal atrocities of retirement-home existence. at the same time she recognizes her brain is starting to fail, she is decided to struggle again opposed to the injustices foisted upon the home’s occupants.

This book positive factors a longer biography of may perhaps Sarton.

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No one, then, escapes the mire of the ironically titled Sanctuary. Lee is lynched, Horace goes back to his wife, and Popeye is ultimately executed for a crime he did not commit. The novel relies on sliding, voyeuristic narration to produce its primary theme: the sliding, voyeuristic quality of human evil. It also raises the question of what evil is. Horace, for one, thinks that “there’s a corruption about even looking upon evil, even by accident; you cannot haggle, traffic, with putrefaction” (129), yet he does exactly that at every turn in the novel.

Finally, we can see what emerges as common between the sections, and we can read between them to see what, if anything, they mean. Benjy seems at first like an unreliable narrator because he cannot interpret what he sees. In fact, that characteristic makes him an extremely reliable narrator because he can neither lie to us nor deceive himself. He might not think rationally, but he does know things, initially by their physical attributes. In the creek with Luster in 1928, for example, Benjy remembers “playing in the branch and Caddy squatted down and got her dress wet” (17) and a character named Versh scolding her for it.

It also raises the question of what evil is. Horace, for one, thinks that “there’s a corruption about even looking upon evil, even by accident; you cannot haggle, traffic, with putrefaction” (129), yet he does exactly that at every turn in the novel. During the night that he interviews Temple at Miss Reba’s, he never grasps the simple and obvious fact that she has been raped, but we do. We cringe as we hear her recalled wish for a chastity belt with a spike on it: “I’d jab it all the way through him .

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