"He and I" by Natalia Ginzburg

Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.

” When reading the short story “He and I” by Natalia Ginzburg, there was anger, humor, and surprise evoked because the scenarios given in the story are much like modern relationships which makes it easy to relate to and understand. The story “He and I” is a love-hate story of the author’s relationship with her husband. She speaks of the differences and the likenesses between them and after all that she expresses the love and fondness that her and her husband share for one another. Some of her experiences are humorous and surprising because they happen every day. The story “He and I” by Natalia Ginzburg evoked humor, surprise, and anger because her experiences are easy to relate to. As I read this quote, humor was evoked.

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“But he scrupulously keeps all the gas bills. In drawers I find old gas bills which he refuses to throw away from houses we left long ago”(Ginzburg428). The author describes her irritation with her husband’s inability to part with unnecessary things. She claims they are a waste of space, but he doesn’t think so. This, to me, is an example of the humor in the story because my step dad does the same exact thing and my mom gets so annoyed and irritated. She will rant about it for twenty minutes when she is the one who finds them and has to go through them, and throw them away.

One time she found and old utility bill from 1991, before my mom and step dad were even married! “My tidiness and untidiness are full of complicated feelings of regret and sadness. His untidiness is triumphant. He has decided that it is proper and legitimate for a studious person like himself to have an untidy desk”(428). In this quote, the author explains how her husband’s desk is untidy, yet it is okay because it is his untidiness. My step dad is the same way, his desk is a mess, and especially since he keeps every single bill he has ever had since the 90’s. My mom hates looking at his desk that is covered in papers, bills, and other mail.

My step dad claims to be a studious person but really when he goes down stairs to pay the bills at eight o’ clock he doesn’t come back upstairs till midnight because he fell asleep in the computer chair. Once I read these quotes, surprise was evoked. “His rages are unpredictable and bubble over like the head on beer. My rages are unpredictable too, but his quickly disappear whereas mine leave a noisy naggings trail behind them which must be very annoying-like the complaining yowls of a cat” (429). Ginzburg explains the rages and arguments of her relationship with her husband. I feel like she explains my parent’s arguments.

My step dad gets angry over every little thing. My mom’s rages go on and on forever because after every pause she thinks of another thing to say, so with her and argument can last an hour. “Sometimes in the midst of his rage, I start to cry, and instead of quieting him down and making him feel sorry for me, this infuriates him all the more…”(429). The author of the story, Natalia Ginzburg, describes what happens during her husband’s rages. If someone, anyone, cries or talks back when my step dad is yelling and makes him even angrier and he just yells louder and louder and then his rage lasts longer. When reading these quotes, anger was evoked.

“And so-more than ever- I feel I do everything inadequately or mistakenly. But if I once find out that he has made a mistake I tell him so over and over again until he is exasperated” (429). The author explains that her husband makes her feel like she does everything wrong but when her husband makes a mistake she is sure to let him know about it. My step dad is the same way. He holds a double standard and expects people to know what to do and how to do it and when they don’t do it right he gets upset but as soon as my mom or I know that he made a mistake we hold it over him.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we know. “He bought them because they were cheap and he thought he ought to buy them, and he bought them as an argument against me because he considered me incapable of buying things for the house” (429). My step dad thinks that he gets the best deals so he buys in large quantities, where as my mom buys what is reasonable. It is a very complicated relationship. The story “He and I” by Natalia Ginzburg evoke humor, anger, and surprise because the scenarios given by the author are easy to relate to and understand. All of the emotions stimulated in me when reading this story is important to me because this is what I don’t like about my step dad and it makes me realize that I don’t want to someday marry a man with these qualities, even if they are a nice guy.

I couldn’t stand to feel degraded and argue all the time.