(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Two for the Seesaw is about an eight-month romance between a thirty-three-year-old Nebraska lawyer who has left his wife and an aspiring New York dancer of twenty-nine. Jerry Ryan has come to New York to escape a stifling marriage poisoned by a father-in-law whose money and influence makes Jerry feel dependent and trapped. While Jerry’s wife awaits the divorce, Jerry wanders the New York streets and museums, going to films and living on the five hundred dollars he brought from Nebraska. Then he meets Gittel Mosca. Young, vivacious, but unsettled as she pursues her illusory hope of becoming a famous dancer, Gittel’s romantic entanglements have always been brief and superficial until she meets Jerry. Their romance, though tempestuous, is intense and appears potentially redeeming for both.

After becoming Gittel’s lover, Jerry takes a job in a law office and plans to reassume his legal career in New York, while Gittel rents a loft and gives dance lessons, with Jerry eventually moving in and sharing Gittel’s apartment. After Jerry’s divorce becomes final, however, his wife decides that she wants to attempt again to make the marriage work, and Jerry decides to leave Gittel and return to Nebraska. He will try to resurrect his marriage under terms that do not involve dependence on his father-in-law. Jerry and Gittel part as friends, thankful for what they have gained from each other.

The original title of Two for the Seesaw...

(The entire section is 570 words.)