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MonkeyNotes-Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
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Miss Lonelyhearts and Mrs. Shrike

Summary

Miss Lonelyhearts feels restless and an uneasy coldness deep within his heart. To cure it, he tries a bath with hot water, some whisky and even coffee, but when nothing works. He then thinks of trying out sex. He calls up Shrike’s wife Mary, who is for most of the time, estranged from her husband. Mary is said to be sexually selfish as she refuses to give up her virginity. Miss Lonelyhearts begs her to sleep with him but she refuses. He takes her out to dinner and tries to appease her, but all she can talk of is of her mother who died of breast cancer and her cruel father.


Notes

Miss Lonelyhearts is disillusioned by all the things around him and is left with the option of sex. Because he has spoiled his chances with Betty, he plans to go to Mary, Shrike’s wife. Miss Lonelyhearts believes that making fun of Shrike may make him feel less like a joke. Mary is considered to be sexually selfish and this maybe because she does not want to sacrifice her virginity at the altar of lust and loveless passion. Both Shrike and Miss Lonelyhearts need her to satiate their lust. They do not experience love because they live without faith, which is the very element of real love. Finally, the purpose of Miss Lonelyhearts’ visit remains unfulfilled. He considered sex to be the only solution and that too eludes him.

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MonkeyNotes-Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
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