The second half ofMildred Piercewas almost as invigorating as the first, but I definitely found the start of the story more compelling. It seems to have reached most of its climax in all aspects by the point we left off on last class with her opening her restaurant, save her relationship with Veda. After this, everything seems to wind down and get very technical when dealing with more adult type problems, such as her flailing second marriage and finances.
It would appear to me that while there is definitely an air of sexism in the book, especially in the dialogue between Monty and Mildred, our main character does a pretty effective job of shutting it down. I did notice, however, that in her central relationship, she did let a lot of what Monty said to her just slide, perhaps because she was hurling insults of equal brutality. While they would fight due to rather petty and insensitive comments, such as on page 158 when he tells her that she is the “best piece of tail” he’d ever had, in the end she would seem to go back and forgive him, as well as vice versa. I also noticed this in her relationship with Veda, although it is slightly different coming from a mother’s unconditional love for her child.
Speaking of Monty and Veda, I was quite perturbed by the ending of the novel. As we discussed in class, Veda almost fits our idea of the femme fatale more than Mildred does because of how manipulative and cunning she is. One difference between her and our other femme fatales is that I hate her. I loved Vera, Dinah and even Phyllis, but I have absolutely no compassion for the spoiled and spiteful brat that Veda willingly and knowingly portrayed herself as. Despite this regard, I did have a lot of affection for the book and Mildred, which could also probably feed into my dislike for her daughter. Even though their mother disagrees, I wish it had been Veda to die instead of Ray.