Summary and Analysis Section 2



The Valet ushers Inez into the room. She asks for Florence, but Garcin doesn't know such a person. Inez's first reaction is that Hell is torture by separation: She obviously had a relationship with Florence during her lifetime but changes positions quickly to inform Garcin that she won't miss Florence a bit (she assumes that Garcin is the torturer). She is cold toward Garcin, claiming that torturers look frightened. Garcin gropes to see his image in a mirror, but he finds none. Inez is annoyed that Garcin is in the same room as she; the torture has already begun for her. Garcin wishes to be polite with Inez, but she tells him that she is not polite. She then reproaches Garcin for twisting his mouth, and she says that he has no right to inflict his fear on her. Fear, she claims, had a purpose before death, but it is pointless now. Garcin disagrees, indicating that they still might hope for the best since real suffering has not yet begun.


The little details and human foibles come into play here as Inez and Garcin interact with one another; she is torture for him because she is cold and inattentive to his need for sociability, and he is torture for her since she resents being subjected to someone for whom she has no fondness. Sartre draws attention to the human body, as he does in many of his other works, by singling out Garcin's mouth as the object of Inez's scorn: It is a symbol for everything human — flesh, weakness, fear, undesirable human contact. The stage is now ready for the arrival of Estelle, who will round out this trio into a perpetually vicious circle.

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