Provide a quote that confirms why Frances insists on knowing the truth from Michael.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short story "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" by Irwin Shaw tells of a couple, Michael and Frances, who seem to be happy together, until a long-brewing problem threatens to disrupt their marriage. They emerge onto Fifth Avenue in New York on a Sunday after eating breakfast together, and Frances almost immediately notices that Michael is watching other women. When she points this out, they first laugh it off, but then their disagreement gets more serious. After they go to have a drink together, Frances insists on Michael telling her the whole truth: not only that he enjoys looking at other women, but also whether he fantasizes about doing more with them.

There are several reasons why Frances presses Michael to tell her the truth, so there are several possible quotes that might answer your question. We will look at some of these, and then you can decide which quote would be best to use.

Frances insists on Michael telling her the truth because the incidents of girl-watching on that Sunday are not isolated. They occur frequently, and Frances's annoyance and apprehension about Michael's habit has been building for a long time. Here is an example of a quote that illustrates this:

"You always look at other women," Frances said. "At every damn woman in the city of New York."

This quote carries the thought and Frances's suspicions further:

"You ought to see the look in your eye," Frances said, "as you casually inspect the universe on Fifth Avenue."

Most people want to know the whole truth even if it causes them pain. That's another of Frances's motivations in insisting that Michael tell her the truth. She wants to relieve the inadequacy that his actions make her feel, and she also wants the reassurance that she is still important to him. She expresses these emotions like this:

I feel rotten inside, in my stomach, when we pass a woman and you look at her and I see that look in your eye and that's the way you looked at me the first time, in Alice Maxwell's house. Standing there in the living room, next to the radio, with a green hat on and all those people.

Finally, she insists on knowing the truth because she still values their marriage and wants to know that it is still secure even if Michael gives in to his impulses and has outside affairs. She indirectly alludes to this when she asks him to do her a favor.

"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."

In saying this, she is expressing that she will tolerate his impulses as long as he is clandestine about them and their marriage remains intact.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial