Explain She smoothes her hair with automatic hand
I, Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene and foretold the rest.I too awaited the expected guest.Or, She smoothes her hair with automatic handAnd puts a record on the gramophone.
These lines have been extracted from the third section (The Fire Sermon) of the poem The Waste Land composed by T.S. Eliot. Here the poet tells about the mechanical sex relationship of modern waste landers through the image of a typist girl. Eliot makes Tiresias the protagonist of his poem The Waste
Land. Tiresias was a blind man with prophetic powers. He had both the male and female experience of the sexual act. He is an old man with wrinkled female breasts. He surveyed the scene in the typist's room and anticipated what was to follow. He has personal experience of such girls as he has also led the life of a female at one time.
Tiresias visualises the scene in the typist-girl's as she waits for her lover. Tiresias visualises that the lover of the typist girl approaches the typist and finds her bored. When he starts the game of love he finds her indifferent to his love-game.
After completing his sex-act, he gives a farewell kiss and goes downstairs. The girl has no sense of regret. She gets up and looks at the mirror and arranges her hair by pressing her hands against them, and puts her record on the gramophone for usual recreation.
Thus Tiresias here visualises a debased attitude towards sexual relationships between men and women. In the past, loss of chastity was considered worse than death for a girl. But in the modern age, it has become a mechanical, automatic gesture of everyday life, mechanical as putting a record on the gramophone.