The Hour of the Star
by Clarice Lispector
The Hour of the Star Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Life is like that: you press a button and life lights up. Except that the girl didn't know which button to press. (3.65)
Okay, let's play with this analogy: life is like a space elevator—but you have to know where you're headed first. Maybe Macabéa didn't know which button to press, or maybe she didn't even know that the buttons existed at all. And if you don't even know you're in an elevator, why would you expect it to move.
She feared that she would incur some terrible punishment and even be sentenced to death if she began to experience pleasure. So she shielded herself from death by living below par, by consuming her life sparingly so that it shouldn't come to an abrupt ending. (3.75)
Macabéa's fear of pleasure (any kind of pleasure) drives her to purposely live her life too cautiously and prudently. But again the narrator wants us to ask if Macabéa is really unhappy, or if she just lives a life that looks unhappy to us.
But I am fully conscious of her presence: though I utter my cry of horror to existence. To this existence I love so dearly. (3.78)
Notice how the narrator uses the third person, "her" (Macabéa) when he utters his cry of horror to existence, but then he switches to the first person "I" when he says he loves his own personal existence. So maybe it's just her own personal existence that stinks so much?