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Quotes

Quote #4

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.

Quote #5

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.

Quote #6

Forgive me, but I don't believe that I am all that human. (4.164)

If Macabéa feels herself to be something other than human, then we have to ask what it might mean to be human. Does she need to belong to the world? To think about herself? To have self-awareness?

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