Mrs. Christian

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Mrs. Christian
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Christian, Mrs.
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"Mrs. Christian" (the narrator of "Uncle Willy" gives her no other name) is a prostitute in Memphis whom Willy marries on one of his regular trips to the city, and an affront to most of Jefferson when he brings her back to his house. She is "twice as big as Uncle Willy," and visually conspicuous in her clothes - "a red hat and a pink dress" (236), "a red-and-white striped dress so that she looked like a great big stick of candy" (237), "a black lace dress" (238). The unashamed sensuality she brings with her from a "Manuel Street" brothel - walking through town with "both sides of her behind kind of pumping up and down" (237) - attracts favorable attention from the men around the Square but outrages the guardians of propriety, who bribe her to leave Willy and return to Memphis just two days after her arrival. On her way out, driving Willy's car, she stops in the Square to invite the men there to "Come on up to Manuel Street and see me sometime" - a phrase she may have learned from Mae West, the flamboyant movie sex symbol who invited Cary Grant to "come up sometime and see me" in She Done Him Wrong (1933), though in the way "Mrs. Christian" says it, this invitation is full of scorn for all the "hicks" in "this town" (238).

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