Bliss

by

Katherine Mansfield

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Eddie Warren Character Analysis

Eddie Warren is a neurotic and fashionable writer whom Bertha Young has invited to her dinner party. Eddie Warren comes across as imaginative and easily alarmed, as exemplified in his interaction with a taxi driver whom he imagines has been transformed by the moonlight into a sinister, supernatural being. Eddie does not seem comfortable interacting socially and maintains both an expression of “anguish” and a nervous manner throughout the party. A playwright, his neuroses are comically exaggerated by Mansfield to suggest his artistic and highly-strung character. Although Eddie is famous within artistic circles, his artistic talent and depth of perception are called into question at the end of the story when he tells Bertha that he thinks the most profound sentence ever written is: “Why must it always be tomato soup?” Although Eddie feels that there is something “eternal” about this sentence, it is clear to the reader that it is a banal and meaningless phrase. This causes the reader to suspect that the attention given to Eddie Warren by the fashionable, London public has given the illusion that he is a brilliant playwright, when in fact he is quite an ordinary one, just as the taxi driver he is so afraid of is just an ordinary taxi driver who looks strange in the light from the moon.

Eddie Warren Quotes in Bliss

The Bliss quotes below are all either spoken by Eddie Warren or refer to Eddie Warren. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sexuality and Desire Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Bliss published in 1991.
Bliss Quotes

While he looked it up she turned her head towards the hall. And she saw . . . Harry with Miss Fulton's coat in his arms and Miss Fulton with her back turned to him and her head bent. He tossed the coat away, put his hands on her shoulders and turned her violently to him. His lips said: “I adore you,” and Miss Fulton laid her moonbeam fingers on his cheeks and smiled her sleepy smile. Harry's nostrils quivered; his lips curled back in a hideous grin while he whispered: “To-morrow,” and with her eyelids Miss Fulton said: “Yes.”

“Here it is,” said Eddie. “‘Why Must it Always be Tomato Soup?’ So deeply true, don't you feel? Tomato soup is so dreadfully eternal.”

“If you prefer,” said Harry's voice, very loud, from the hall, “I can phone you a cab to come to the door.”

Related Characters: Harry Young (speaker), Eddie Warren (speaker), Bertha Young, Pearl Fulton
Related Symbols: Moonlight
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

Miss Fulton held her hand a moment longer. “Your lovely pear tree!” she murmured. And then she was gone, with Eddie following, like the black cat following the grey cat.

“I'll shut up shop,” said Harry, extravagantly cool and collected.

“Your lovely pear tree—pear tree—pear tree!” Bertha simply ran over to the long windows.

“Oh, what is going to happen now?” she cried.

But the pear tree was as lovely as ever and as full of flower and as still.

Related Characters: Bertha Young (speaker), Pearl Fulton (speaker), Harry Young (speaker), Eddie Warren
Related Symbols: The Pear Tree, Cats
Page Number: 156
Explanation and Analysis:
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Eddie Warren Character Timeline in Bliss

The timeline below shows where the character Eddie Warren appears in Bliss. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Bliss
Sexuality and Desire Theme Icon
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
...over for dinner. Bertha thinks about the guests she has invited: “the Norman Knights” and Eddie Warren. Mr. Norman Knight is an aspiring theatre director, his wife Mrs. Knight is interested... (full context)
Sexuality and Desire Theme Icon
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
Eddie Warren arrives next and is very shaken by his experience with the taxi driver who... (full context)
Women’s Roles and Social Constraint Theme Icon
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
...will take no interest in her until she is an adult and has a suitor. Eddie Warren is talking about a play he wants to write for Mr. Knight’s theatre. Harry... (full context)
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
...need to leave to catch the last train and begin to say goodbye. Pearl and Eddie Warren agree to share a taxi. Pearl goes to get her coat from the hall... (full context)
Sexuality and Desire Theme Icon
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
Bertha says that she does have this book and goes to get it for Eddie Warren. As she comes back past the hall, she glances in and sees Harry take... (full context)
Sexuality and Desire Theme Icon
Women’s Roles and Social Constraint Theme Icon
Aesthetics, Appearance, and Performance Theme Icon
...say loudly that he can call Pearl her own cab if she’d like. Pearl and Eddie say goodbye and as Pearl takes leave of Bertha, she presses Bertha’s hand and says:... (full context)