MIMI MENLO is one of two main characters in this short story. She is not just one character among several, it is her thoughts and actions that we focus on since she is one of the two main characters. We take on Mimi's viewpoint and judge her by her actions and see what kind of moral fibre she is made up of.
She has many faults but not many that cannot be forgiven, we see this at the beginning of the story. She secretly tries to stay awake and keep an eye on her husband. She prescribed herself a week's worth of Dexedrine to help her stay awake. It was corrupt for Mimi to prescribe medicine for herself since it's illegal. To most people this would seem sweet but I think she should be honest and confront him with his problem of insomnia.
It says in the story that the dog Thurber would have restless nights and she would rub her fingers in his hair in order to soothe him.
It is surprising that the only genuine affection in the novel is shown by Mimi towards Thurber and Brian. I may be thinking critical but why wouldn't Mimi do the same for her husband Everett when he was having sleeping problems. Sometimes it is enough just to comfort another person, without having to talk about their problems and just to let them know your there for them.
Mimi decides to confront her husband Everett, like any good mate she becomes concerned and questions him. Her job focuses on better understanding people through her patients talking openly. But when Everett refuses to talk about his problems she subsides and lets him keep his problems to himself. We see that Mimi is very observant when reading the story; an example is that when Everett sleeps, she knows he sleeps on his stomach. Now, Everett is lying on his back scared to sleep. Her awareness was probably acquired through her many years of work as a psychiatrist and now has gained an insightful mentality.
I see some faults in her psychiatrist mentality because at some points Mimi tends to overanalyze a situation. She tries to find reasons why Everett is having a mid-life crisis; some answers that she comes up with very dramatically. Like, it could be an affair, maybe he might be ill, but her most reasonable was that he could not break through in one of his tougher cases, which we find out later is correct.
Mimi felt it was of great necessity not to be employed at the same institution as here husband who was also a psychiatrist. Some reasons why this may be are that by spending to much time together, marital stress would be caused, or maybe even competition would occur.
Mimi is quoted to being a hard worker, "...she had always worked with the kind of physical intensity that kills, and yet she gave the impression this was the only tolerable way in which to function." We can see this in her work with Brian Bassett. Brian Bassett was an autistic, whose unemotional state and lack of communication was Mimi's driving force. She would stay with him from the moment he woke until the instant he was induced to sleep. This was a clear sign of her devotion and love for a child that never chose to show any emotion back.
We can see that Mimi clearly became attached to Brian and that she wanted to see him get well so badly. To no avail, Brian had no spirit and lacked the will to live. The first time we hear Brian speak is when Mimi is about to insert his IV. Brian says "no, don't", I'm sure it breaks Mimi's heart to hear him say that. To my surprise Mimi does a completely immoral act when she listens to Brian and fails to insert the IV. This deed was unprofessional and showed very irrational thinking. She goes further and unethically tells the nurse Brian died, but not how. What gave her the the right to knowingly let Brian die without the consent of his parents? She must have unknowingly, slowly, lost her professional control, self-esteem, and scientific certainty, just because she failed to connect and couldn't deal with her lack of progress with Brian.
After Brian's death, a person she was supposedly so attached to, Mimi failed to shed one tear for him. One reason why Mimi did not weep was because she was glad that she would finally have peace of mind.
It is near the end of her coming to terms with Brian's death when she was rearranging his letters to form different names that she says, "they were all in peoples dreams, but they had to wait for someone to wake before they could make there getaway." This thought process of Mimi's suggests that she finally 'woke up' and saw that she could not save Brian from his autismic state; by letting Brian die she set him free.
During Everett's troublesome case with Kenneth Albright she innocently wishes that Kenneth might have successfully killed himself so her husband might begin to sleep again. This thought of hers is very sinister but may be slightly forgiven when later she thinks to herself that such a thought is deeply unfeeling and verging on barbaric. Thereafter she thinks once again to herself that all that matters is that Everett and herself survive. Such a thought may be considered selfish but truthfully who does not think of their own well being first in life in most cases.
At some points Mimi seems genuinely concerned with Everett's dilemma of lack of sleep but at other times she doesn't really pay attention to him. We see this when Everett was in the middle of confessing his reason on why he can't sleep when Findley says, "Mimi not really listening", and at another point Mimi was praying that her ice cubes would melt because they were freezing her fingers. She even promised that she would not interrupt his story of Kenneth Albright but fails to keep the promise. This shows a clear lack of character which you would expect from your mate. I wonder if Findley purposely named her Mimi "Me Me" to emphasise her selfish nature.
Findley has created a very interesting character in Mimi because she is very much a sincere character. When an author stirs up a story by creating a character like Mimi, it draws attention to her train of thought. Ironically, in doing this, he gets us to analyze our own way of thinking about certain situations that cause problems in our lives.