Study Guide

Dr. Acheson and Miss Herschhorn in The Wanting Seed

By Anthony Burgess

Dr. Acheson and Miss Herschhorn

Dr. Acheson and his secretary, Miss Herschhorn, are Beatrice-Joanna's contacts at the State Health Service where her son has died. As with many human characters throughout the novel, the narrator describes these two using animalistic terms: Dr Acheson is "a fat gelding of an Anglo-Saxon," and Miss Herschhorn is "a Teutonico-Chinese" who "quacks" into her voice recorder (1.1.3-5). The narrator doesn't have much sympathy for either of them, but, given the significance of racism and white supremacism in this novel, it's worth asking whose description is most insulting.