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Three noticeable things in "In the Waiting Room" are:
1) Adults dressed in winter wear.
Elizabeth notices the overcoats, trousers, and boots of the grown-ups in the waiting room. She tells us that it is winter-time in Worcester, Massachusetts and that the night is 'slush and cold' outside.
Elizabeth picks up and reads the National Geographic while she is waiting for her aunt at the dentist. The images of an active volcano, a 'dead man slung on a pole,' naked women with 'horrifying' breasts and necks wound with layers of wire, and 'Babies with pointed heads' fascinate her. Elizabeth finds herself unable to resist devouring the contents 'right straight through.'
The soon-to-be seven year old Elizabeth tells us that it gets dark early in the winter-time. Therefore, the waiting-room lamps are on. Later, she hears an exclamation of pain from her aunt and her discomfort at hearing this leads her to conclude that the bright waiting room has become too hot for her. The images of foreign peoples in the National Geographic magazine also lead the little girl to ponder the great questions of life, the interconnection of humanity, and where she fits in the grand scheme of things.
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