‘Who Lived And Died Believing’ by Nancy Hale

Hale, Nancy 1943

Who Lived And Died Believing by Nancy Hale, 1943

The magic trick:

The startling inner monologue of Mrs. Myles

Hale puts the reader in the mind of shock-therapy patient Mrs. Myles. Believe me when I tell you that is a terrifying place to be. Hale is unrelenting in her portrayal. The woman is lost in depths of psychological hell, and it is truly remarkable the intimacy and detail in the language of her interior monologue. And that’s quite a trick on Hale’s part.

The selection:

“How do you feel?” the nurse said in the evening room.

“How do you feel?” the nurse said.

“How do you feel?” the nurse said.

“HOW DO YOU FEEL?” the nurse said.

The nurse said, “Mrs. Myles, is there anything the matter?”

“It’s as if,” she said, “all the human things had been taken out of me and it left holes, like a cheese with great empty holes. And the holes have to be filled with something and they are all filled up with fear. So that where I had all sorts of things now I haven’t got anything but fear in all the holes.”

But that wasn’t it at all; there was the bottle, how to tell someone of the bottle, glass, and sound-proof, where the stopper was being pushed tight home with her inside; not like a moth, no, not so clean, not like the souls in bottles, animula, vagula, blandula. No, like a festering purple lump of tissue.

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One Comment on “‘Who Lived And Died Believing’ by Nancy Hale”

  1. Jill Anspach says:

    So now you have moved away from old alcoholic white men to repressed white women?


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