Thursday, September 17, 2015

All alike, perhaps just because they all wanted to be different

Here the pavements were swarming with feet wearing shoes, boots, high boots, shoes with heels and shoes without, and some in sandals, which, to look at them, make one's head go round; here the people were strolling up and down in couples, or in groups of men, women and children, or alone: some slow, some in a hurry, all alike, perhaps just because they all wanted to be different, with the same clothes, the same hair, the same faces, eyes, and mouths. Here were the furriers, bootmakers, stationers, jewelers, watchmakers, booksellers, florists, drapers, toyshops, hardware stores, milliners, hosiers, glove shops, caf├ęs, theaters, banks; here were the lighted windows of the buildings with people walking up and down or working at desks; the electric signs, always the same; on the street corners stood the newspaper kiosks, the chestnut sellers, the unemployed selling ruban de Bruges and rubber fins for umbrellas. Here were the beggars, a blind man with black spectacles, cap in hand at the top of the street, his head thrown back against the wall, lower down an elderly woman suckling a child at her shrunken breast, and lower still an idiot with a shiny yellow stump like a knee-joint where his hand should have been. As I ground myself once more in that street, among such familiar things, I had a funereal impression of immobility, which made me shudder profoundly and feel momentarily naked, as if the icy breath of fear had passed between my body and my clothes.
— from The Woman of Rome, by Alberto Moravia.

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