Djuna Barnes

Poet, Journalist, Visual Artist, and Short-story writer


In 1913, Djuna Barnes started her work as a journalist and illustrator for Brooklyn Daily Edge. By 1914, she was for being a known reporter, interviewer, and illustrator in the city's best newspapers. Later on her connections with the bohemian people in Greenwich Village got her the opportunity to write and publish her poems and illustrated volume, "The Book of Repulsive Women." Through this she conveyed the ideas and principles of modernism. She also contributed in the Women's Movement by creating a voice through her writing that said woman were capable of anything men did, favorable and unfavorable.


Jenny Petherbridge was a widow, a middle-aged woman who had been married four times. Each husband had wasted away and died; she had been like a squirrel racing a wheel day and night in an endeavor to make them historical; they could not survive it.

She had a beaked head and body, small, feeble, and ferocious, that somehow made one associate her with Judy; they did not go together. Only severed could any part of her have been called "right." There was a trembling ardour in her wrists and fingers as if she were suffering from some elaborate denial. She looked old, yet expectant of age; she seemed to be steaming in the vapours of someone else about to die; still she gave off an odour to the mind (for there are purely mental smells that have no reality of a woman about to be accouchée. Her body suffered from its fare, laughter and crumbs, abuse and indulgence. But put out a hand to touch her, and her hand moved perceptibly with the broken arc of two instincts, recoil and advance, so that the head rocked timidly and aggressively at the same moment, giving her a slightly shuddering and expectant rhythm.

She writhed under the necessity of being unable to wear anything becoming, being one of those panicky little women who, no matter what they put on, look like a child under penance.

She had a fancy for tiny ivory or jade elephants; she said they were luck; she left a trail of tiny elephants wherever she went; and she went hurriedly and gasping.

Her walls, her cupboards, her bureaux, were teeming with second-hand dealings with life. It takes a bold and authentic robber to get first –hand plunder. Someone else's marriage ring was on her finger; the photograph taken of Robin for Nora sat upon her table. The books in her library were other people's selections. She lived among her own things like a visitor to a room kept "exactly as it was when." She tiptoed, even when she went to draw a bath, nervous and andante. She stopped, fluttering and febrile, before every object in her house. She had no sense of humour or peace or rest, and her own quivering uncertainty made even the objects which she pointed out to the company, as, "My virgin from Palma," or, "The left-hand glove of La Duse," recede into a distance of uncertainty, so that it was almost impossible for the onlooker to see them at all. When anyone was witty about a contemporary event, she would look perplexed and a little dismayed, as if someone had done something that really should not have been done; therefore her attention had been narrowed down to listening for faux pas. She frequently talked about something being the "death of her," and certainly anything could have been had she been the first to suffer it. The words that fell from her mouth seemed to have been lent to her; she had been forced to invent a vocabulary of two words, "ah" and "oh." Hovering, trembling, tip-toeing, she would unwind anecdote after anecdote in a light rapid lisping voice which one always expected to change, to drop and to become the "every day" voice; but it never did. The stories were humorous, well told. She would smile, toss her hands up, widen her eyes; immediately everyone in the room had a certain feeling of something lost, sensing that there was one person who was missing the importance of the moment, who had not heard the story; the teller herself.

She had endless cutting and scraps from her journals and old theatre programmes, haunted the Comédie Française, spoke of Molière, Racine and La Dame aux Camélias. She was generous with money. She made gifts lavishly and spontaneously. She was the worst recipient of presents in the world. She sent bushel basket of camellias to actresses because she had a passion for the characters they portrayed. The flowers were tied with yards of satin ribbon, and a note accompanied them, effusive and gently. To men she sent books by the dozen; the general feeling was that she was a well-read woman, though she had read perhaps ten books in her life.

T- A story about the woods and how they can be at night

P- Jenny Pethebridge was a woman who married four times and all her husbands had passed away. She had a beaked head and was very small but was vicious. She struggled with her insecurities about dressing up. She took her "lucky" ivory elephants everywhere. She always had second hand things from stealing things from others. She sent books to men to show she was educated but really had only read 10 books in her life.

C- "lavishly", shows she has a lot of money and could be over doing it to impress others; "was that she was a well-read woman, though she had read perhaps ten books in her life.", shows that she's a little tease with something shes not, perhaps she's a little flirty to get what she wants

A- sneaky, flirty, promiscuous

S- personality to physical appearance

T- NIghtwood is about a woman who is hopeless and insecure so she looks to men for attention

T- Women aren't just housewives but actually have feelings and be everything men are

Illustration to Text Analysis

Text to Text Analysis

Text to Text Analysis

D.D. by The Weeknd

"You'll never make me stay so take your weight off of me

I know your every move, so won't you please let me be

I've been here times before, but I was too blind to see

That you seduce every man, this time you won't seduce me

She's saying that's ok, hey baby do what you please

I have the stuff that you want, I am the thing that you need..."

This song shows the same kind of hopelessness the woman has in Nightwood. The text states, "To men she sent books by the dozen; the general feeling was that she was a well-read woman, though she had read perhaps ten books in her life." The song says."That you seduce every man, this time you won't seduce me

She's saying that's ok, hey baby do what you please" Both pieces of text describe a promiscuous woman who has ways of flirting with men and getting the attention she desires that way she can fill the void caused by her insecurities.