Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key


Tatiana De Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key: Chapter 54 Summary & Analysis

Bertrand hugs Julia and tells her he has heard from the doctor that she decided against the abortion. He smiles “a strange, desperate smile” and downs a glass of cognac, which Julia thinks of as “an ugly gesture.” Bertrand insists that Julia having the child will “destroy” him. He claims he is going through a midlife crisis, saying that Julia has been so absorbed in her own affairs that she “[hasn’t] even noticed what [he’s] been going through. Julia asks to talk things through, but Bertrand says he is too tired. Julia finally realizes that she has been missing signs of her husband’s depression, including weight gain and fatigue. She feels ashamed, but also deeply conflicted, wondering how she can “want [Bertrand’s] child and not him.” Although she wants to cry, no tears come.
This chapter shows Bertrand in a slightly more sympathetic light by revealing his struggles with depression. Julia feels guilty about having ignored Bertrand, but the novel seems to subliminally suggest that it is not Julia’s “job” as his wife to care for Bertrand’s need as she would those of her own child.
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