Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Gigi is Colette’s fairy tale of a young girl who grows up and marries her Prince Charming. Like the stereotypical fairy-tale princess, Gigi becomes the wife of a “prince” at the end of the story and will presumably live happily ever after; unlike the pristine storybook characters, Gigi is surrounded by sexual innuendo of which she is highly conscious. Indeed, she becomes the recipient of an indecent proposal herself before she takes control, shifting the balance of power away from others and into her own hands.

It is no surprise that Gigi has translated so well to the stage and screen. The novella is composed largely of dialogue revealing the interaction between people rather than the private thoughts and interior journey that usually constitute the focus of the novel. Because of this, Colette’s novella is sometimes called superficial; however, the conversations not only explore social customs and values but also reveal how off-center the customs and practices of this particular family of courtesans are. These women speak their minds to one another. They talk honestly and without euphemism so that the reader is able to become part of a web of relationships that centers on planning the future of Gigi.

As a family friend, called Tonton (“uncle”) by Gigi, Gaston Lachaille is charmed and amused by Gigi, who speaks without guile. It is through their repartee that he becomes enamored of her; it is what he does not say...

(The entire section is 580 words.)