Dialectical Journal: No Exit
1. Garcin: “No mirrors, I notice.”(2)
As Garcin enters the room with the Valet, he first notices that there are no mirrors. Mirrors in this play are important as they allow the characters to judge themselves without the judgment of others. A room without mirrors foreshadows the eventual interactions with each character as they are forced to be judged. It’s being without a mirror that causes the characters to slowly judge each other and start complications.
2. Garcin: “Ah, I see; it’s life without a break.”(2)
Garcin notices that neither he nor the Valet has eyelids. Garcin, Inez, and Estelle are to be forever awake without any break. They will have ...view middle of the document...
She has nothing to lose by telling the truth, but she is so used to being dishonest with herself that she cannot stand to tell. This foreshadows Estelle’s actions as she becomes dependent on the judgment of others and rejects the notion of freedom and will.
5. Inez: “Look here! What’s the point of play-acting, trying to throw dust in each other’s eyes? We’re all tarred with the same brush.”(9)
This honest statement made by Inez tells a lot about her character. Unlike Estelle and Garcin who refuses to admit as to why they are in hell, Inez states that they were all sent to hell for a reason and that they shouldn’t try to hide it. Inez refuses to lie and she is more conscious of herself compared to Estelle and Garcin.
6. Inez: "Suppose I try to be your glass? Come and pay me a visit, dear. Here's a place for you on my sofa."(10)
This statement, made to Estelle from Inez, foreshadows Inez’s attraction towards her and also her power over Estelle. Throughout the play, Estelle consistently tries to look at mirrors in order to avoid the glances of their peers. As Inez attempts to gain influence over Estelle, she offers to be her mirror. Following that, Inez tells her that she has a pimple on her lower lip. Estelle, unable to trust her own judgment, must rely on Inez to feel satisfaction of her existence. Estelle surrenders her individuality to Inez and thus reflects on the theme of judgment and power over people.
7. Garcin: “I asked you to leave me in peace. There's someone talking about me in the newspaper office and I want to listen.”(12)
This quote is significant in understanding Garcin’s state of mind during the time he is in hell. Garcin refuses to let go of his past, desperate to be heard on Earth. He continues to see himself in terms of his past, not his present. This reflects Garcin’s regretfulness on earth and his longing for redemption—he doesn’t want to be remembered as a coward after he had died trying to run away.
8. Garcin: "You're crazy, both of you. Don't you see where this is leading us? For pity's sake, keep your mouths shut. Now let's all sit down again quite quietly; we'll look at the floor and each must try to forget the others are there."(12)
Garcin's statement reflects his calmness and willingness to accept his situation. Of all three prisoners, Garcin is the most willing to accept what has happened. He realizes that the reason they were put together was to cause judgment and bring calamity so he suggests looking at the floor and ignoring each other. When Garcin instructs them all to look at the floor, he is implying that none of the three should judge each other.
9. Inez: "When I say I'm cruel, I mean I can't get on without making people suffer. Like a live coal. A live coal in others' hearts. When I'm alone I flicker out."(14)
This statement reveals Inez’s past life and her character. Unlike Garcin and Estelle, Inez was aware of her cruelty and wrongdoings while she was alive. She reveals her...