‘A Day In The Open’ by Jane Bowles


A Day In The Open by Jane Bowles, 1945

The magic trick:

The ever-changing dynamic between Inez and Julia

The plot focuses on Julia’s health and her interactions with Senor Ramirez. However, I was most interested in the relationship between Inez and Julia. Bowles subtly shifts the power dynamics back and forth between the two. They are at once caretakers and competitors, victims and willing accomplices. And that’s quite a magic trick on Bowles’s part.

The selection:

“Inez – ” Julia clutched at Inez’s kimono just as she was walking away. She struggled out of bed and threw herself into the arms of her friend. Inez was obliged to brace herself against the foot of the bed to keep from being knocked over.

“Don’t make yourself crazy,” said Inez to Julia, but then Inez began to cry; the sound was high like the squeal of a pig.

“Inez,” said Julia. “Get dressed and don’t cry. I feel better, my little baby.”

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