It's revealed in the early pages (and in most descriptions of the book), that the institution which is her new home is the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. I'll leave you to figure out what that means.
As compliant and accepting of her fate as Dorrit is, the program is not exactly voluntary; it's a government program that was initiated after years of public debates and democratic votes.
Some of the big topics on which it seems The Unit is making a comment:
Usefulness. The society in The Unit could be taken as a kind of socialism taken to an extreme. Everyone must contribute to the greater good, but the worth of individual contributions must be weighed against each other, and that's where it gets dicey. What would ever make a person dispensable? I don't think my job is important enough for me to make the cut.
Authenticity. Maybe because this is on my mind, reading it fresh on the heels of Remainder. There are cameras everywhere, the awareness of which give every action a meta-action. It's not clear how much of what seems to be is real. It's not clear whether it matters. "I wasn't completely sure that this was actually true, for real, but the main thing was that if felt that way." But then there's the garden, Monet's garden, which is exactly the same as Monet's garden, but it's not.
Motherhood. There's a passage regarding the subject of motherhood that made me cry. (Me! Cry!) About that veil that falls between a pregnant woman and the rest of the world, each side feeling pushed out by the other. And not till you're on the pregnant side do you totally understand it, and understand how little control you have over it. As if there's a genetic necessity for your world to be centred elsewhere.
Love. The big irony is that for many inhabitants, many of them social misfits (what else would you call these artists, these free spirits?) all their lives till now, the Unit provides a sense of belonging, and strange and beautiful friendships are forged. Dorrit had never found love on the outside — not the kind that this society values anyway. Her love for her dog, or for her sister, are deemed less worthy.
Art. It's no accident that the Unit is home to a high proportion of artists, writers. Clearly, they are not useful to society in any meaningful way. Also, they can, and are encouraged to, continue to practice their art on the inside; in this way it is regarded as something of a hobby, to do in your spare time, but it's hinted that the state is also able to profit from it. There are also librarians, gardeners, and intellectuals. "People who read books tend to be dispensable. Extremely."
I was watching her as she talked, her green eyes exuding a sense of calm and harmony. But at the outer corner of one eye a tiny nerve was vibrating, almost imperceptibly; it twitched and quivered beneath the skin. This quivering, together with just the tiniest hint of tension around her mouth, was the only thing that gave away the fact that this harmony was not complete, that there was something inside that was not calm, and I was seized by an almost irresistible urge to put my arms around her, to console and protect. To try to save her. But just as during our nighttime stroll in Monet's garden a week ago, I was afraid I would ruin the atmosphere if I gave in to my emotions and impulses.
Some readers found the prose dull, but I found it easy. The dry, matter-of-fact tone is in keeping with Dorrit's attitude; the whole story is imbued with her ennui, and I found it highly effective.
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