Zombie People

In part three of Eliot’s The Waste Land, following a possible sexual assault, a woman goes about her evening,

“Hardly aware of her departed lover;/ Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:/ ‘Well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over” (250-52)

If not for previous hints that this woman is “bored and tired” (236), one could assume she may be in shock from the assault. In my opinion this does not seem to be the case. It is obvious she did not particularly enjoy her date, but had the sex been consensual, or the date with another man, she still would not be able to enjoy it.

This goes back to our discussion on day 1 about the state of society after WWI. Instead of being elated, society was still somber due the shock and sadness of  unjustifiable death. The tone of post war society is represented well by this woman who has a guest for dinner, and simply goes through the motions of conversation and intimacy. This type of routine is paired with a gramophone,

“She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,/ And puts a record on the gramophone” (255-56)

A gramophone is mechanical and a piece of technology that plays pre recorded sounds. Like her gramophone, the woman seems mechanical, and the gramophone’s function reminds me of the routine the woman seems to be preforming.



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