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In the Waiting Room

In the Waiting Room

by Elizabeth Bishop

Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

What similarities—
boots, hands, the family voice
I felt in my throat, or even
the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts—
held us all together
or made us all just one? (77-83)

Again, Elizabeth brings up her fear of the women in the magazine, but this time it's in the context of the other adults in the poem – Aunt Consuelo, the dentist's patients. She's part of the collective humanity that Elizabeth joins together here. But she focuses not on the women, but on their breasts. Perhaps Elizabeth is more disturbed by their nudity than by their skin color? We can't know for sure, but it does seem interesting that Elizabeth refers specifically to these body parts, which are often symbols of both sexuality and motherhood.

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