I thought of Celia in the Cocktail Party when I saw Luis Bunuel's film Viridiana, in which a woman invites beggars into her upper-class home for a big dinner and they destroy the place and rape her. In one scene the characters at the table  arranged around the woman resemble the painting of The Last Supper, the woman being the Christ figure. Bunuel was famously anti-piety if not anti-Christian. Diana

From:  Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Some questions re The Cocktail Party
Date:  Wed, 27 Sep 2006 08:16:40 -0400
At 09:30 PM 9/26/2006, Carrol Cox wrote:
>What are the political presuppositions of the crucifixion of Celia
>on an
>ant hill in the Cocktail Party? Where on earth, hypothetically,
>such scene be located in 1950? What business would an English woman
>inserting herself in such a location?

   One assumes she was inserted into the ant hill by others. Wasn't her "business" named?

>  Since the fact is only thrown in
>almost parenthetically at the end, with no context or rationale
>the play assumes that it will be perfectly intelligible to the
>What is one to say of an audience that can swallow that camel? What
>one say of the social/political premises of a playwright who can ask
>audience to swallow that camel? Are Eliot's assumptions the same as
>at least related to those of Kipling in "The White Man's Burden"?

   Sometimes Carrol I think your enthusiasms reflect a mccarthyite thinking from the other end of the political scale. It doesn't dress up any better on the left than on the right.

Ken A.