You succulent old washing bag.

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Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Stanley: Get out of it. You succulent old washing bag.
(The Birthday Party - Harold Pinter)

Is old washing bag related to old bag?

3 old/stupid bag spoken an insulting word for an old woman : You silly old bag!
(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

If so, what does washing add to the meaning? I understand that all in all it's an insult, but perhaps there is some kind of double meaning here? The phrase old washing bag isn't common, judging by the number of hits in Google. I don't think that it's idiomatic. Perhaps Pinter just made it up?

Thank you in advance.
 
Last edited:
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Only someone with a full understanding of the relationship between Stanley and "you" can answer this question. Unfortunately I have none! An understanding of Pinter's style will also help. By the way, isn't it succulent?
     

    Couch Tomato

    Senior Member
    Russian & Dutch
    Thank you, se16teddy.

    Yes, I have fixed the typo. I can't change the thread title anymore.

    I don't what their relationship is. I haven't finished reading the play and I'm not particularly familiar with Pinter - this is the first time that I'm reading one of his plays.
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't know, but isn't the play absurdist? Such works tend to feature (relatively) strange uses of language...
     

    Couch Tomato

    Senior Member
    Russian & Dutch
    Thank you, Tazzler.

    I don't know, but isn't the play absurdist? Such works tend to feature (relatively) strange uses of language...
    Quite. I've finished reading it and it is indeed rather impalpable. One can only guess what it all means and such strange use of language doesn't really come as a surprise anymore.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think we can say that an oxymoron is intended. Succulent suggests attractiveness, possibly sexual allure. Couch Tomato has explained the connotations of bag when applied to people in #1, and the suggestion that the bag is for dirty washing only enhances the distasteful effect.
     
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