Study Guide

The Wanting Seed Part 5, Chapter 8

By Anthony Burgess

Part 5, Chapter 8

  • As Tristram waits for the inevitable battle and/or explosion that will kill him and the others, he asks Corporal Haskell how a man might make his way from Ireland back towards England.
  • Soon, the men hear noises coming from the trenches opposite them. Tristram realizes that there is a real "enemy" after all, but it's not clear who it is.
  • Tristram's commanding officer declares that the men will begin an attack at 2200 hours.
  • When the moment comes, both sides attack simultaneously. Amidst the chaotic bloody violence, Tristram suddenly realizes who the enemy is: battalions of English women.
  • When another soldier is shot dead and topples onto Tristram, Tristram decides to stay underneath the dead man's body, and to wait out the battle if he can.
  • The women take the trench, and Tristram pretends to be dead as he lies on the ground beneath the bodies of his fellow soldiers.