THE EDIBLE WOMAN CHAPTERS 1 – 4
Marian McAlpin: the protagonist. Marian copes with her roommate Ainsley's radical ideas. Marian copes with Peter's moods, adjusting her emotions around his. She copes with a boring job, a snoopy landlady, a sloppy apartment. Ainsley Tewce: Marian's roommate. Ainsley represents the progressive, alternative woman. She is aggressive and determined. She shuns the role that society tries to impose on her. In the beginning, Marian defines herself in contrast to Ainsley, who "had a hangover, which put me in a cheerful mood — it made me feel so healthy." Minutes later, Marian compliments herself on her "moral superiority" over Ainsley. Marian also states that she and Ainsley "don't have much in common."Ainsley looks at men differently than Marian does. Ainsley plays with men "pretending to be terribly interested" in them. She says that she does not want a man to take care of her, treating her as if she were a "thing." She also claims that she is anti-marriage. Woman Down Below: Marian's landlady who lives on the first floor of the rooming house. She and her pubescent daughter are known respectively as The Woman Down Below and Child. Marian describes the child as looking cretinous or stupid. The woman down below enforces rules, checks on visitors, and in other ways tries to control Marian's and Ainsley's actions, always for the sake of protecting the innocence of this child. For "whatever happened the child's innocence must not be corrupted." The Woman Down Below symbolizes a kind of strict mother figure, or generalized, conservative voice of society, who does not approve of male visitors, drinking alcohol, or leaving a ring of soap scum around the bathtub. Mrs. Bogue: is Marian's department head at Seymour Surveys. She symbolizes the professional woman. Marian looks at Mrs. Bogue as a possible future self. Marian sees Mrs. Bogue as attempting to preserve a sense of humanity in a mechanized world, as when Mrs. Bogue...
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