Exploring The Waste Land
A commentary page linked from The Waste Land, Part II, line 167

Part II
Lines 139-167

In an e-mail exchange within the TSE mail serve group there was a discussion of just how strong the friendship was between Lil and the narrator of this section. One side argued that they were not close. One reason for siding with this view was thinking about how many friends would threathen to steal the other's husband.

149)  And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.
150)  Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.
151)  Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.

I was taking the position that they were, in fact, rather close and that this was actually a rather blunt warning of what might happen, not a threat. As I was writing that Lil did, after all, later invite the narrator to dinner, I has shocked with an epiphany. What if Lil invited her friend to dinner to set her up with her husband so the friend might take over the wifely duties that Lil does not want to be bothered with? Eliot might be very subtle here.

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: cq167.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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