experience fell to my lot this night of the Ball that I had never
known in all my fifty years, though it is known to every flapper
and student—the intoxication of a general festivity, the mysterious
merging of the personality in the mass, the mystic union of joy.
This passage appears during the climactic
Fancy Dress Ball, where Harry and Hermine dance with innumerable
partners and relish the wild revelry to the fullest. Harry’s experience
of blending with the community and feeling his personality dissolve
into the collective mass represents the culmination of everything
that Hermine and others have been trying to teach him. Harry’s absorption
of the key lesson about the multifaceted nature of the soul has
taken place, through the path of the body and through the kind of
modern frivolities that Harry has spent a lifetime disdaining. Furthermore,
these truths and this path do not belong to Harry alone but are
properties and potentialities of people in general. Indeed, by realizing
that his triumph is a common one, “known to every flapper and student,” Harry
breaks the egotistical notion that he is specially gifted or destined.
This final break with his previous insistence on the self enables
Harry’s merging into the mass of people.