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The Bath

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Beth Miles

on 3 March 2014

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Transcript of The Bath

Born August 28, 1924
Died January 29, 2004
Lived in Dunedin, New Zealand
3rd of 5 children
Janet Frame
The Title
"The Bath"
Antagonist of the story
Her representation of death
Hometown of Dunedin
Bathroom in her house
Cemetery by the sea
based off of Andersons Bay Cemetery
Inspiration for Story
Wrote in 1965 at the age of 40
Admitted to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum for aggressive outbursts of violence
Schizophrenic & after death deemed autistic
Wrote her first book while in the asylum
collection of short stories:
The Lagoon and Other Stories
Attempted Suicide and ended up in therapy again
The story is based on an experience of her aunt
Beth Miles
Alexis Clay
The Bath
The Old Woman
Generally negative
fears death
wishes she could be more independent
old woman's husband
died 17 years ago
propels the story
if he was alive none of this would be a problem
The old woman is going to take flowers to her husband's grave. She decides to take a bath which isn't a commonality because it is difficult for her. She ends up stuck in the bath tub and fears for her life. Finally she works up the strength to get out and vows to never take a bath again. She takes the bus, which is a task she hates, to the cemetery and cleans up her husbands grave and puts new flowers out, and she notices her parents grave.
"The Bath" by Janet Frame




Point of View
Literary Elements
Primroses-can't live without someone
Narcissus-formality and sweetness
Spring flowers-new beginning and hope
Third Person
Allows the reader inside of the old woman's head
deeper connection because unnamed
Descriptions of physical feelings as well as emotional thoughts
Literary Elements Cont.
- emotional intensity
radio and leaves
Light purple
- nostalgic
- decay
- goodness/innocence

Bath goes from white to yellow
open sea- emptiness
cemetery by ocean
Dark blue primroses- negative around positive
Torture comes with age.
The elderly woman struggles with day to day activities and is merely awaiting for death to claim her
She longs to be next to her husband in her own grave
Physical pain in hands and back
Loneliness is dangerous.
If her husband was still alive she believes she wouldn't be in this situation
Niece is out of town
left to fend for herself
Internal conflict
Deciding to visit her husbands grave
Fighting against her body
External Conflict
Fighting against the bathtub
Structure Analysis
First paragraph analyzes the women's position in life
going to husband's grave
husband is given more detail than woman
Switches to her domestic routine
preparing for the dreadful bath
3 items
chair next to bath
warm nightclothes
focused on what will happen after the bath rather than enjoy it
reward for taking bath
Structure Analysis Continued
Once she is in the bath, she enjoys washing herself
Before it was a comparison between suffering and reward (bathtub/sleep), now it is pleasure and impending death (cleaning/bathtub)
Short paragraphs follow
focus on the woman's isolation
attempts to get out of the bathtub
multiple strategies but nothing works
One quick paragraph on her escape
Then it shifts to her visiting the graveyard
follows a routine again; methodical
views the graves as the bathtub
entrapping, death, inescapable
Analysis Activity
Connected Stories
"The Moving Finger" by Edith Wharton
both use objects to represent death
a painting v. a bathtub
fear of death and what lies beyond in both stories
Edith Wharton's husband suffered from depression and Janet Frame was mentally unstable

"The Lady in the Looking Glass: A Reflection" by Virginia Woolf
both follow elderly women who are lonely
both women are tortured with age
both authors suffered from mental illness which contributed to their stories
Annotate the passage focusing on the symbols we discussed
Be prepared to discuss how it connects with the story as a whole
Full transcript