From Pain To Freedom Essay

973 words - 4 pages

Susan Rawling, the main character in Doris Lessing’s short story “To Room 19”, fights against her inner emptiness and the roles she is supposed to play as a mother and a wife. This painful struggle leads her to a resentful attitude towards her “intelligent” marriage and domestic life. In order to express this psychological process, Lessing progressively describes the different views the character has of her surroundings - such as the starkness of her white house, the big and “wild” garden, and finally “Room 19” to demonstrate how these settings influence her troublesome emotional status.
At the beginning of the story, Susan Rawling lives in a large, white house with a ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless, this yearning creates more inner conflicts because of her fear of who the real Susan is- who might not match the white house.
In the garden, Susan watches the river passing among the lively trees, and she hopes to be completely alone so that she can look for her inner self. She is eager to encounter herself but at the same time, feels that doing so means encountering the demon – a wild and “unintelligent” side of her. Despite being terrified of it she still visits the garden once in a while in search for some shelter from her emotional distress. She ends up visualizing her fears as a demon: “One day she saw him. (…) He was looking at her and grinning.” (p. 674). At this moment “she recognized the man around whom her terrors had crystallized” (p. 674). Realizing that this demon is nothing more than the wild state of her own essence she has been looking for, she decides not to plunge into it, but try to forget.
Aiming to forget about herself and where she comes from, she decides to have a place “where she could go and sit, by herself, no one knowing where she was” (p. 674). Then, she starts to isolate herself in a hotel room – room 19 – so as to unchain herself from her duties as Mrs. Rawlings. There, Susan can have a setting of her own where she does not have to think about anything, but only observe the time passing by, without the past or a future. She is totally empty there, “feeling emptiness run deliciously through her veins like the movement of her blood” (p. 6 80). These trips to the hotel room, which range from one to five times a week, go on for a year. These days of loneliness enable Susan to “play her part” as a mother and wife easily since she is not Mrs. Rawlings...

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