By Jerry Huang and Julia Graziani
The conflict in this scene exists within Anna’s own mind, as she is in denial about her situation and is unable to understand the fact that she feels loneliness after Walter’s departure. This is reflected within Anna’s stream of consciousness where she says, “You can’t possibly do this you simply don’t know what you’re doing […] I’d like to see you just once more” (Rhys 89-90). Anna expresses her unhappiness and sadness as well as her desire to see Walter again, but doesn’t explicitly say that, implying that she herself lacks the understanding of her own feelings. Furthermore, she says “The window was like a trap. If you wanted to open or shut it you had to call in somebody to help you” (90). Once again, Anna shows how she feels trapped within her own mind, without any way to escape, and her desire to call somebody is reference to the fact that she needs human comfort in order to make herself feel better. As a result, when Ethel first appears in front of her, Anna says No, don’t go. Please stay” (92), as Ethel’s presence provides her with the comfort that she seeks without admitting it.
Dramatic Interest (subtext)
Early on, Anna “poured a glass of vermouth and drank it without soda and went ton writing” (89), actions which indicate her depression and inability to move on from her relationship with Walter. She is drinking wine and mixed her young age, it shows her emotional discomfort and desire to rid herself of her memories of Walter. When she burns the papers later on, it shows how she’s getting closer to moving on from her past.
When Anna talks about the ocean, she calls it “Oceans away from despair” (91). This phrase uses the ocean as a metaphor for a state of mind Anna hopes to possess, one which is calm and requires no thought.
During her conversation with Ethel, Anna notes that Ethel “was staring at [her] coat all the time” (92). This observation implies that Ethel suspects that Anna is a prostitute, hence Ethel’s overly caring attitude towards Anna. It provides reason for Ethel’s actions towards Anna, such as her providing Anna with a place to stay later on as well as a normal employment.
Anna’s statement that “I’ve had influenza” (92) is humorous, as it takes a very serious situation and making it appear very minor.
A cartoonist description Anna provides is her description of Ethel: “She was short and fat. She was wearing a white silk blouse and a dark skirt with stains on it and black stockings […] She was like all women whom you look at and don’t notice except that she had such short legs and her hair was so dusty” (91). This description is cartoonist, as Ethel is described as much more of a non-serious character, as we imagine her as being less well-kept than the rest of the cast and Anna provides a very exaggerated description.
Anna’s statement that “I bet she’ll say I did that and want me to pay for it” in regards to the broken water jug shows Anna’s pessimistic personality and how she posses a very negative view of the people around her
Anna’s description of the windows expresses her sense of being trapped as well as her mood at the moment, which is very depressed.
In the scene, Anna “ate the lemon-cheese tart and began the song all over again” (91), her senses showing how she’s slowly becoming complacent with her destiny and not attempting to find any solution to making her life any more pleasant. In addition, she words “Come in” (91) can also be interpreted as a statement of how she’s willing to let any man who desires her to do whatever they want to her.