Throughout the first two sections of Graham Rawle’s Woman’s World, the language of the 1960s fashion world is used in a possibly humorous, satiric mode. This use of language, however, fails in the third section as Roy realizes that Norma’s perception of the world is incapable of coexisting with his own. This failure begins to breach the surface of Norma’s exterior after she thinks that she killed Hands. Upon post-assault reflection, she realizes that actual life severely contrasts the romance portrayed in the magazines she worships, stating that “In all the romantic stories I have ever read in my magazines, not one of the men, and certainly none of the women, has ever killed anyone” (page 233-234). She expresses this new-found belief again when she states that “those who realize this truth [that life is not at all like Hollywood] will be happier for the knowledge” (page 237). Norma’s shocking experience of being victimized during an attempted rape results in her recognition of the superficiality and inapplicability of the content that she molds her life to.
This avoidable situation and the complication that accompanies it leads to the explicit statement by Roy that he wants to be rid of Norma (page 252), who chooses instead to believe that Roy is making this life decision because he experienced first-hand the disrespect that men show women. After Norma makes this statement, she makes it clear that she operates in denial. This should evoke a sense of concern within readers as this denial leads to an alteration of tone applied while portraying the Roy/Norma dichotomy. Norma reveals her insecurities, which is quite surprising since she normally fawns over herself and Roy loses his cool, collected mien that led him to unbelievable success in the past as he adopts instead a newfound air of paranoia (p. 215, 303-305). What does this say of the novel as a whole? Should we as readers be concerned that the portrayal of the first two sections, and thus the events that took place, was an inaccurate portrait?