Essay about The Girls in Their Summer Dresses

724 Words Apr 25th, 2007 3 Pages
Irwin Shaw's short story "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" is about a couple's marriage in danger. The man in the relationship, Michael, desires other women. His wife, Frances, knows this and is confused about her feelings in their committed relationship. Michael and Frances are jeopardizing their marriage. Both of them have different attitudes and expectations for a committed relationship therefore leading to a failing marriage.

Michael desires other women regardless of the fact that he is wedded. This is shown in the story when he is eying other women so often that his wife realizes it. When Michael and his wife are walking down Eighth Street, he sees a woman that is so pretty she could "break [his] neck."(p.1) Frances thinks
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At first, she would like Michael to be honest in their relationship but then when he is, she doesn't want to hear the truth anymore. When he says that he likes looking at other women, he tells her that she "[doesn't] have to listen to [it]" (p.4) however, "[she] wants to" (p.4) listen to the truth. Once he reveals everything to his wife, she is heartbroken and doesn't want to hear "about how pretty [the women are]."(p.5) She wants him to keep everything "to himself" (p.5) because "[she's] not interested."(p.5) Their marriage is unstable. Their marriage is in danger due to their different expectations. Michael reckons that it is fine to desire other women notwithstanding the fact that he is in a devoted relationship. He agrees that he "look[s] at women" (p.3) but he doesn't think "it's wrong or right." (p.3) Frances says that Michael looks at every woman "as though [he] wants them" (p.3), he replies that "in a way, that's true."(p.3) Frances wants Michael to feel the same way he felt about her when they first met. Frances feels that "when [they] pass a woman and [he] look[s] at her and [Frances] see[s] that look in [his] eye and that's the way [he] looked at [her] the first time … and it makes [her] feel terrible" (p.3) because he doesn't look at her like that anymore.

Frances and Michael have different ideas about what a marriage is supposed to be like. This is causing them to
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