Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 420

If I were to write an analysis on "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses," I would analyze how the plot develops and how the author conveys the deterioration of the intimacy and understanding between the married couple, Frances and Michael. In this story, they are walking along Fifth Avenue in New York City on a crisp Sunday morning in February. At first, the couple is quite happy spending time together, and they even contemplate cancelling their plans with another couple in order to be alone. However, after Frances catches her husband gazing longingly at a beautiful woman, their happy mood drastically changes, no matter how hard both of them try to save it.

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First, we can examine how this can be seen in their gestures. In the beginning, when the couple is content and carefree, Micheal is holding tightly to his wife's arm, which shows their closeness and intimacy. However, after they begin to bicker about Michael's wandering eye, they become more physically distant. They try to hold hands again, but it feels forced. Also, Michael tries to reassure his wife by extending his hand, pressing her elbow and touching her thigh, but she responds by withdrawing from him. This shows the reader how, oftentimes, body language tells more than what is spoken.

It is also interesting to focus on their miscommunication and its effect on their true intentions. In the beginning, they yearn to spend quality time together at the museum observing and discussing art. However, once they become more agitated, all they want to do is drink alcohol, which leads to more misunderstandings. As they drink, Frances keeps asking her husband to tell her the truth and feeds him ideas like, "You want to be free, don't you?" While she might be tempting him to say yes, she really wants him to say no and reassure her, but her husband gets the wrong message in his drunken state and becomes more brutally honest. What is unfortunate is that Michael seems to truly love and be attracted to his wife, but instead of communicating this, he exacerbates her fear of not being attractive enough to keep him faithful.

The irony is that their miscommunication leads them to abandon their original intentions of spending quality time together (which is what their relationship really needs) in order to join the other couple and ignore their relationship problems. Do you think this story reveals a common problem among married couples? What could the characters have done differently to avoid this bitter ending?

Style and Technique

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 423

The narrative achieves compression within a tightly unified framework. The story works through subtle shifts of mood and tone in the dialogue; the narrative is presented primarily from a dramatic point of view that creates tension and suspense, for the reader can never be sure of each character’s actual mental state or interior thoughts. The author allows the story to develop through their conversation. The authorial voice intervenes to describe the characters’ reactions, tone of voice, and emotional states as these change during the conversations. The dialogue achieves a realistic colloquial tone and reflects the economy one finds in dramatic dialogue.

The characters themselves are too commonplace to be very interesting. Their interests and conversation are shallow, the remarks on mundane...

(The entire section contains 843 words.)

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