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NW by AA

AnotherAbby's picture

I guess, like many others, I am curious about how Smith treated all the different characters who came from the same background, particularly with Natalie/Keisha. Her story really intrigued me the most; from the moment I met her in Leah’s section. What was most poignant to me was how Leah described the way Natalie would have had to really ignore or repress her origins in the neighborhood in order to truly be happy in the life she carved out for herself, which got me thinking about the ideas we’ve talked about with authenticity. I’m left wondering what Nat’s apparent inauthenticity is what left her feeling trapped, like she was always living her life for someone else rather than for herself, and how she’s seen accordingly. That idea also contrasts a lot with Leah, who’s living, for the most part, with only herself in mind, as shown when she gets an abortion despite Michele’s desire for a child. Nat is the “successful” one, and Leah is the one who never lived up to whatever potential she had, but both are rather unsatisfied with their lives.

This also comes back to the novel as a tool with which Smith explores existentialism with relatable characters in everyday situations, which lead me to think about the ultimate futility of the lives of these characters and, really, my own life.