Name Professor Class Date Literary Analysis of “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” Introduction “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” is a short story by Irwin Shaw presenting a young and wealthy married couple having an argument on a nice Sunday in the streets of New York…
The argument that ensues shows that this is not the first time they argued over the same thing. This story depicts how communication, respect, and compromise is necessary in order to save a relationship. Character Analysis Michael Loomis, the husband, is a static character. He is a superficial man who has a roving eye and a blatant lack of respect for his wife. He is insensitive, yet he seems to enjoy the humorous exchanges he has with his wife. Unfortunately, he is a static character because despite the several emotional argument and emotional appeals made by his wife, he remains unmoved and unchanged. He seems to be concerned about what his wife feels, but until the end, he fails to really realize what his wife needs from him. Similar to Michael, Frances is also a static character. She is attractive but insecure. She obviously loves her husband and tries hard to make him laugh and have good times with him. However, she lacks courage to tell her husband to stop what he is doing. She fails to realize that she is actually allowing her feelings to be ignored because she always tries to give way. In the end, readers would realize that this same scene will repeat over and over in the couple's lives since there is no character change in either of them. Conflict The external conflict is simple: Michael and Frances do not see eye to eye regarding their marriage and their role to each other. Frances wants to get her husband's attention, while Michael seems to be bent on giving it to other women. Their internal conflict is more complex than the external one. Frances tries to understand how it is with men in order to iron out her relationship with her husband: “Some men're like that, I tell myself, they have to see what they're missing” (Shaw). On the other hand, Michael does not feel too happy with how this is affecting his wife: “...that Michael felt terribly sorry for her” (Shaw). They both try to fight their with themselves in order to please the other yet the external or more superficial desires win. Furthermore, what adds to this conflict is the refusal of the two involved individuals to resolve the issues between them by deep communication. Instead, they choose to ignore it, which causes the same issue to come up over and over again. Setting The story is set with vivid descriptions of New York and the women that stroll along its streets. This is an important detail in the story since it greatly provides the readers with a clear picture of what Michael and Frances see. Setting the story in a fast-paced city makes the scene a comfortable backdrop for an arguing couple. Furthermore, 5th Avenue Manhattan is a famous place filled with museums, fine dining restaurants, and boutiques, which makes the description of the beautiful, crisp, chic women so believable. It contributes to the conflict in the story because being in a big city as New York exposes the husband and wife to the major concern they have in their marriage --- Michael's roving eyes as he meets the types of women he has always wanted to have. Story Point of View The story is told in a limited third person point of view. The narrative is seen mainly through Michael's eyes, because his thoughts are more profoundly discussed compared to Frances'. Readers get to understand Frances' thoughts merely through her reactions to Michael. This is effective in keeping the story in a limited perspective, where it gives more ...
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