Understanding the Behavior of the Opposite Sexes in How to Talk to a Hunter and Woman on a Roof

1152 Words 5 Pages
Understanding the Behavior of the Opposite Sexes in How to Talk to a Hunter and Woman on a Roof

The understanding of attraction between opposite sexes and the impact they have on each other has qualities of both mystery and accessibility. These complex issues are elusive and cannot be fully comprehended. Only small pieces of knowledge about them have been captured in literature, in scientific and analytical studies, and in individual's search and speculations. Two literary works by Pam Houston and Doris Lessing explore some aspects of this puzzling and complex issue concerning relationships between men and women and their behavior. In her short story, "How to Talk to a Hunter," Houston describes different ways women position
…show more content…
Houston's main character has an active role. She is the one who searches for meaning, tries to understand the man she is in a relationship with, and looks for the answers to questions that bother her. The reader accompanies her in these explorations as a silent and invisible witness. In contrast, in Lessing's work the sunbathing woman is a blank space. Everything we know about her is through the observations of men working on the roof adjoining hers and their discourses about her. She does not lead the narrative; instead her silence invites the reader to ask questions, understand and analyze the behavior of men. Through the narrative positions assumed by the two female characters, the reader is made aware of the different social positions and behaviors that define them. Houston portrays a woman whose views are shaped by social and cultural conditions according to which women "attract men by whose name she will be known, by whose status she will be defined" (Gilligan 396). Despite her intelligence, self-awareness and complete understanding of her situation, the main character of Houston's work stays in the relationship with the man who "cannot speak the same language" with her, whose values differ from hers, and who is unfaithful to her (Houston 709). The hunter appeals to her primal urges that he embodies. His life and he himself is
Open Document