Does abiding by gender conventions help or hinder romantic relationships?
The Torrents of Spring subverts male-female dynamics by having the female be the superior figure in the relationship. This is shown through the releationship between Dimitry Pavlovich Sanin, a Russian nobleman who becomes infatuated with Gemma Roselli, the wife of German businessman Karl Kluber. Sanin is an idealistic, weak-willed young man who grows up to be a guilt-stricken, middle-aged man. After a duel with Karl, he wins over Gemma and agrees to sell his Russian estate to Maria Nikolayevna Polozov to secure the financial future of Gemma’s family. Sanin is seduced by Maria during a trip to Wiesbaden and decides to end his relationship with Gemma through a letter. Time goes on and he is now 52 years old. After noticing a small garnet cross, he contacts Gemma and finds out that she is currently living in New York City with her husband. The story ends with Sanin wanting to pursue Gemma again by immigrating to America.
Throughout the story, it’s clear that women are in control of the men. Sanin’s chance encounter with Gemma caused him to sell his estates on two occasions, all for the possibility of gaining her love. Maria is the temptress of the story, using her sexuality as a method of dominating Sanin. As a result, this subversion of gender conventions demonstrates the volatile nature of the Sanin’s romantic relationships. Had Sanin been more courageous, then he could have still been with Gemma and overcame Maria’s sexual advances.