I think it’s telling that the moment of purest sexual satisfaction she experiences in the story is the one when she imagines what Robert sees as he looks at her: she’s seduced by the vision she’s created of herself—of someone perfect and beautiful and young.So much of dating involves this interplay of empathy and narcissism: you weave an entire narrative out of a tiny amount of information, and then, having created a compelling story about someone, you fall in love with what you’ve created.
At the same time, she’s already speculated about the possibility that he could kill her and has become anxiously aware that she’s entirely in his territory, that he could have rooms full of “corpses or kidnap victims or chains.”Louis C.
K., who has obviously been in the news a lot lately, echoed Margaret Atwood’s line “Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them” in a standup routine, by talking about how the equivalent of a woman going on a date with a man would be a man going on a date with a half-bear, half-lion.
Margot’s sense of Robert and his motivations keeps shifting throughout the story. Do you think that she ever actually interprets his thoughts or behavior correctly?
Margot keeps trying to construct an image of Robert based on incomplete and unreliable information, which is why her interpretation of him can’t stay still.
The point at which she receives unequivocal evidence about the kind of person he is is the point at which the story ends.