Ethel Matthews… What a scene

p.111-115
Sara Vetere & Savana Di Quinzio

Conflict
Anna’s biggest conflict throughout this scene is money. Anna attributes her happiness to money, as it’s the reason behind why the world goes round, but she fails to satisfy her needs and wants because she doesn’t make enough of it. At first, Anna sees a black velvet dress in the shop-window, and she uses a simile and says that “A girl could look lovely in that, like a doll or a flower” (111). She seems to think that a wealthier girl who’d be able to buy this for herself, and look elegant in it and the fact that she doesn’t have this kind of money, she classifies herself as being not good enough for this dress. What Miss Ethel Matthews wants is for her “share the flat and help [her] with [her] business” (113). At first she asks for 25 quid, but then decreases it to only 8 quid per month to accommodate Anna’s budget, but Miss Matthews does make it clear that she wants this money in advance, because she is also struggling to pay her expenses. She also wants Anna to bring Miss Matthews business, but we see how lonely Anna really is when she says, “I don’t know. I can’t think of a soul at present- not a soul” (115). The fact that Anna truly doesn’t have a soul to ask shows how isolated she really is, and she has no one to fall back on, even if she wanted to.

Subtext

“Keep hope alive and you can do anything, and that’s the way the world goes round, that’s the way they keep the world rolling. So much hope for each person. And damned cleverly done too. But what happens if you don’t hope anymore, if your back’s broken? What happens then?” (112)
Anna’s referring to this idea of image and appearance. You can improve how people perceive you by how much money you have, and spend. Your appearance is the first impression others have on you, because this tells people the type of social status you have, although it can sometimes be extremely deceiving, as you really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. These stores cleverly market their clothing and items to give the general public ideas and a sense of belonging and being respected in society and hopefully even in the future. What happens if you no longer have this money? If it suddenly all disappears? If all your hope is attributed to such a life controlling and dominant aspect, if it ever did suddenly vanish, there’s no way of telling what the outcome would be.

“It’s all straight and above-board with me. I’m the best masseuse in London. You couldn’t learn from anyone better than me. It really is a chance for you. Of course, if you can introduce some clients of your own it’ll be all the better for both of us” (115).
Anybody who really had a legal massage business wouldn’t feel the need to specify its legitimacy. She wants to take advantage of Anna’s services as she’s young and beautiful, and she’ll bring her the clientele she always hoped for. She makes it seem as though they’ll both benefit from this agreement, Anna with experience and hopefully some money, and Miss Matthews with a larger clientele and a more profitable business as well.

Humour

“He’s such a swine. Come on in; I’m just having tea.” (112)
We found this humorous because Miss Matthews is referring to the owner of the building as a pig. This shows her level of respect for him. It also shows how quickly she shifts from being disrespectful, to being a good host and inviting Anna in for some tea.

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