Simone de Beauvoir | The Second Sex (II)

Simone de Beauvoir | The Second Sex (I)

Simone de Beauvoir on girl and her diary:

illustration by Caitlin Shearer

Others announce: «To be read after my death» or «To be burned when I die». The little girl’s sense of secrecy that developed at prepuberty only grows in importance. She closes herself up in fierce solitude: she refuses to reveal to those around her the hidden self that she considers to be her real self and that is in fact an imaginary character: she plays at being a dancer like Tolstoy’s Natasha, or a saint like Marie Lenéru, or simply that singular wonder that is self. There is still an enormous difference between this heroine and the objective face that her parents and friends recognise in her. She is also convinced that she is misunderstood: her relationship with herself becomes even more passionate: she becomes intoxicated with her isolation, feels different, superior, exceptional: she promises that the future will take revenge on the mediocrity of her present life. From this narrow and pretty existence she escapes by dreams. She has always loved to dream: she gives herself up to this penchant more than ever; she uses poetic clichés to mask a universe that intimidates her, she sanctifies the male sex with moonlight, rose-coloured clouds, velvet nights; she turns her body into a marble, jasper or mother-of-pearl temple; she tells herself foolish fairy tales.

– Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex {The Girl}