William Carlos Williams

Après le Bain

I gotta
buy me a new
girdle.

(I'll buy
you one) O.K.
(I wish

you'd wig-
gle that way
for me,

I'd be
a happy man)
I GOTTA

wig-
gle for this.
(You pig)




The title means "After the Bath." It's in French as an allusion to scenes typical of French Impressionist paintings of women towelling off or dressing after bathing -- paintings by perhaps Renoir or Degas, with that title.

Which one of the couple speaks the last line? In post-1960s slang, "pig" (short for "male chauvinist pig") has a meaning that many readers might think the male speaker here well deserves, but consider the rhythms and pauses -- the period after this  -- as well as the visual cues furnished by the way parentheses are used.

How would you describe the tone of the conversation? Of the last line?


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