A Respectable Triangle?

0 Commentsby   |  01.20.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Short Stories

If you plan to write about “A Respectable Woman” for Essay #1, consider some of the following differences between Mrs. Baroda’s relationship with her husband and her relationship with Gouvernail:

Gaston refers to his wife in French as “ma belle” at one point (286) and “chère amie” at another (288). He is always pleasant to his wife, and when she comments about Gouvernail, he takes “his wife’s pretty face between his hands” and looks “tenderly and laughingly into her troubled eyes” (286). How would you characterize these displays of affection between Gaston and his wife? What might they reveal about Gaston’s relationship with his wife?

In contrast to Gaston’s sometimes condescending interactions with his wife, Gouvernail recites lines of poetry to Mrs. Baroda and speaks to her “freely and intimately in a low, hesitating drawl that was not unpleasant to hear” (287). What is the story’s purpose in presenting these particular differences between these two men and their respective relationships with Mrs. Baroda?

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