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“At a time in our culture when violence was achieving a new legitimacy as a form of public assertion, there was perhaps a special pathos in the idea of a woman so obviously foreign to extreme behavior, whose life had been dedicated to respectability and convention, being suddenly driven to such desperate conduct. [Jean Harris's] action spoke of depths of suffering and despair far beyond what most of us are pushed to though surely of the same basic stuff as the everyday pain that’s woven into our experience.

It forced upon us a fresh realization that behind the contained and orderly lives we lead as members of the respectable middle class there’s a terrible human capacity that may one day overwhelm any of us.”

Diana Trilling
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