When the author writes, “…into the solitude of another year, was she startled to see the smoky image in the mirror of someone from another life?” this depicts the frustration, loneliness and seclusion Ermila has been going through and is not going to stop any time soon. This eats up her mind as she sees herself uniquely in the world all by herself, comparing herself with the unclear image of reflection in the mirror that is further distorted by the smoke from the cigarette. Ermila’s distress fuels when she stops and interprets her image in the mirror as someone from another life, maybe the living dead. She looks like a ghost and does not want to accept the fact that she is still alive and should focus on solving her life problems.
Ermila is a lady who is awfully apprehensive and insecure about herself and what people reflect about her. “A strong paranoia was beginning to settle in Ermila’s be-careful gut and she felt it impossible to disrupt a growing concern.” She is also extremely impatient with others and herself; thus, bringing out her overcautious side. The paranoia trickles down to mistrust on both herself and people surrounding her life. She is afraid that people do not like her, and are trying to harm her, but with no concrete proof. Technically, she has a selfish nature as she sees herself as the centre of attraction to all happenings and the only one absorbing the negative effects of events caused by other people. She is so immersed in her thoughts that she does not realize that the thorns from the rosebushes are pricking her. She can be termed as an overthinker who regards people as the onset of her tribulations.