The Other Paris Summary

Decent Essays

In “The Other Paris,” two characters, Carol and Howard Mitchell are soon-to-be married young adults whose actions are completely influenced by the norms of society. The author, Mavis Gallant, provides clear social commentary on the societal influences on marriage through satirical uses of irony and mockery, the use of a omniscient narrator, and substantial characterization of the relationship between the couple to show the reader how ridiculous and formulaic the “pillars of marriage” can be, and how society ultimately determines which aspects of these pillars receive emphasis. A major emphasis of the passage is mocking the actions of Carol and Howard. Right from the start of the passage, the most desirable proposal is depicted as “a scene that involved all at once the Seine, moonlight, barrows of violets, acacias in flowers, and a confused, misty background of the Eiffel tower and little crooked streets.” This clearly depicts how society pressures people to propose and get married, when in reality Howard “had proposed at lunch, over a tuna-fish salad.” This argument about society creating the standards for an ideal marriage is further qualified by the fact that Howard only knew Carol for less than three weeks and their conversations had been “limited to their office…and the people in it.” Gallant used this to show how ridiculous it was for Carol to say yes, but she had to since society put her “under the illusion that she would be so old no one would ask her [to marry]

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