The Hour of the Star
by Clarice Lispector
The Hour of the Star Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Only once did she ask herself that traumatic question: Who am I? The question frightened her to such an extent that her mind became paralyzed. (3.75)
Well, no wonder she becomes paralyzed: this is a question that's basically impossible to answer. Macabéa's reaction highlights how traumatic this question can be, especially if we're surprised by the answer we give ourselves.
The typist lived in a kind of limbo, hovering between heaven and hell. She had never given any thought to the concept: "I am, therefore, I am." I suspect that she felt she had no right to do so, being a mere accident of nature. (3.92)
To live in limbo is to be between states, like stuck in a doorway or trapped in an elevator, or halfway between being alive and dead. Which, if you think about, sums up Macabéa's existence pretty neatly—and depressingly.