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Unformatted text preview: Our central image of Esther, at this point, is of a starved girl. She is starved physically because of the results of food poisoning, but, more important, she has been starved psychologically from the beginning of the book. On one hand, she takes in everything about the city, all its myriad images, all its smells, sounds, and sights. But none of this nourishes her. The subway's mouth is "fusty, peanut- smelling"; the "goggle-eyed headlines" stare at her; and the "granite canyons" are "mirage-gray." Esther feels as if she is carrying around a cadaver's head. She concludes that something is wrong with her, but the reader also wonders if there is not something wrong with Esther's world. Is not the city, with all its clamor and excitement, its pollutions and stimulations, a major part of Esther's problem? Esther cannot take all this in, cannot find nourishment and refreshment, so her mind's problem?...
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- Fall '09