Irwin Shaw's The Girls in Their Summer Dresses Essay

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Irwin Shaw's "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses"

In Irwin Shaw?s ?The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,? Michael?s character may be questioned by the reader. He may seem to portray himself as an unfaithful husband who essentially gets caught in the act early on in the story. However, Michael had yet to do anything to physically betray his wife, and there is no proof that he would in the future.

In society, many spouses or fiancées have fantasized about having sexual relations with another man or woman. These people have probably questioned their faithfulness to their ?better half? if they have succumbed to such temptation. However, so long as these thoughts do not become actions, they can not be judged as morally wrong. As
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Frances is visibly upset by Michael paying more attention to these women than to her, as most people would be, but before she can present her case, Michael proposes that they get a drink intending to evade the conversation completely.

While walking Michael makes it very clear that he has ?not touched another woman? (p.1035). Michael states right away that he had not been unfaithful to Frances in their five years of marriage, but Frances is uneasy about this information. What hurts more during their conversations is that Michael is painfully honest. This offsets society?s argument that it would be much better to know if they had been cheated on than if someone did not and it continued anyway. Frances?s cries and argumentative points show that this is nowhere close to fact and that it seems to be much better for a couple if one lies about what he or she thinks or does behind his or her spouse?s back, as Frances portrays:

?Stop talking about how pretty this woman is or that one. Nice eyes, nice breasts, a pretty figure, good voice.? She mimicked his voice. ?Keep it to yourself. I?m not interested.? (p. 1038)

Later in the story, Frances reveals her deepest fear that he is ?going to make a move? (Paragraph 75, p.1037). Frances asks a demanding question to Michael of whether or not he knows if he is going to follow through with his fantasies, and Michael answers shadily:
?You know (if you?re going to cheat),? Frances persisted. ?Don?t you know??