What attitudes toward women are reflected in the story "The Kugelmass Episode" by Woody Allen?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Woody Allen's short story "The Kugelmass Episode," the main character, Sidney Kugelmass, regards women as bores if he has to deal with them for any length of time. When the story begins, he is unhappy with his marriage to Daphne, who he describes as "an oaf." He tells his analyst that he married her for money, and he, though bald and hairy, longs to have an affair. He says he can't divorce Daphne because she'll sue him for alimony, which he's already paying to his first wife. Kugelmass's analyst tells him that an affair will solve nothing, but Kugelmass is intrigued when Persky, a magician, calls him and offers him a chance to meet any woman in literature.

Kugelmass embarks on what appears to be a dreamy and steamy affair with Emma Bovary from Flaubert's novel. They have a relationship that is everything Kugelmass wants until Emma, transported to modern times, is stuck and can't return to her novel. Then, Emma and Kugelmass quickly tire of each other, and Kugelmass complains bitterly about the bill he has to pay to keep her at the Plaza. Kugelmass is relieved when Persky figures out a way to send Emma back to her novel. Women in the story are only momentary delights for Kugelmass to conquer, and he has little interest in them beyond that. He is interested in women in literature because they are ideal figures and are not real, but real women disgust and irritate him. 

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The Kugelmass Episode

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