Waiting for the Barbarians

The Girl at the Inn Character Analysis

The magistrate visits a “girl at the inn” (probably a prostitute) regularly, and even continues to visit her when he’s involved with the barbarian girl. Though he’s aware that she is probably feigning her enthusiasm and pleasure when they sleep together, he nonetheless finds their encounters fulfilling. While the barbarian girl behaves authentically around him, however distant and cold she may be, the magistrate seems to prefer the showiness and apparent (but probably exaggerated) tenderness of the girl at the inn’s performance.
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The Girl at the Inn Character Timeline in Waiting for the Barbarians

The timeline below shows where the character The Girl at the Inn appears in Waiting for the Barbarians. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
...He mentions how it occurs to him that, no matter what he says to her, the girl at the inn will hear it with sympathy and kindness. (full context)
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
The magistrate’s narration then goes directly to the next night with the girl at the inn , and he says that he awakes to find her on the floor again. She... (full context)
Chapter 2
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
...he’s gone through the ritual and the girl’s fallen asleep, he pays a visit to the girl at the inn . Even though he’s fully aware that she feigns to be enthusiastic and especially pleased... (full context)
The Empire and Fear of the Other Theme Icon
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
After sleeping with the girl at the inn , the magistrate goes back to his apartment at the barracks. Returning to bed with... (full context)
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
The magistrate begins to visit the girl at the inn regularly. During the days, when he fantasizes about her, he reminisces about the sexual life... (full context)
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
The magistrate adds that he’s visited the girl at the inn three nights in a row, and says that, when he comes back on the fourth... (full context)
Chapter 4
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
History and Time Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...of footsteps on the stairway, the magistrate, undiscovered, makes his way to the room of the girl at the inn . There, he smells the comforting fragrance of her clothes, and decides to hide under... (full context)
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
Independence, Duty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
The girl at the inn enters the room, and the magistrate contemplates revealing himself and asking her to hide him... (full context)
Sexuality, Anxiety, and Old Age Theme Icon
The girl at the inn and a young man enter the room—he tells her that she shouldn’t put up with... (full context)
Chapter 5
Torture, Inhumanity, and Civility Theme Icon
Truth, Power, and Recorded Reputation Theme Icon
...with Mai, saying how in prison he only thought about food—not women. He even mentions the girl at the inn , wondering why he is confessing all this, but then he realizes that when he... (full context)