Marital Conflicts and Failed Marriages
Marital conflicts, lack of trust and divorce are some of the major social problems affecting our society today. In the story, “The Girls In Their Summer Dresses” by Irwin Shaw, the author highlights the broken promise of a couple to spend the whole Sunday afternoon together after Frances discovers t his husband Michael staring at a young pretty girl.
On the other hand, in the story “Gaston”by William Saroyan, the author highlights the challenges faced by a young girl who visits his estranged father and the she feels desperate because she perceives her father as a total stranger to her. Therefore, the two stories highlight the effects of failure in marriage to the affected parties. “The Girls In Their Summer Dresses” by Irwin Shaw highlights the love, infidelity and marriage of Frances and Michael whereby their marriage is gradually rolling downhill due to Michael’s desire for beautiful young women. It is evident that while Frances loves her husband dearly, Michael does not love her instead. Frances is in no position to do anything about her situation due to the prevailing societal stigma associated with divorce.
Michael clearly expresses his infidelity to his wife when he tells her that not only does he look at the pretty girls. He also fantasizes about having them. “I love you, but I also want them.”(Shaw 2000). Michael further more does not care about Frances feelings whereby he calmly watches Frances cry over his infidelity.
Michael’s relationship with Franes is based on physical attractiveness whereby despite the pain Frances feels due to Michael’s infidelity, he only looks at her and appreciates her beautiful legs instead of trying to understand the emotional harm he is causing her. Frances is illustrated as a loving wife who respects and appreciates her husband as she seeks time to be with her husband. Although Frances discovers that her husband does not truly love her, she calls the Stevenson’s instead of asking her husband for divorce since her society does not condor divorce (Shaw 2000). The society advocated that married couples must stick together despite their differences, thus divorce was never considered as a solution to marital problems.Irwin Shaw (2000), clearly illustrates that marital problem is a social problem that has affecting the society since all marriages cannot be the same.
Irwin illustrates that while some partners consider marriage to be built on love, trust and fidelity; other partners appreciate marriage as an attraction to the physical appearance of their partners. The story further highlights the societal social and religious perception on marriage and divorce by advocating for married couples to stay together despite their numerous problems. Moreover, the story illustrates the woman as weak as illustrated in the relationship shared by Michael and Frances where Michael disrespects his wife and in return the society does not allow her to do anything but stick to her marriage despite her numerous problems. “Gaston” by William Saroyan highlights the soccial problems faced by a young child due to her parent’s failed marriage. The story highlights the pain and social pressure experienced by the protagonist at such a tender age due to her parent’s divorce. Saroyan further highlights the impacts of social outsiders –her father, on her position on her parent’s relationship.
The story highlights the concepts of love and fear experienced by both a father and his daughter caused by a failed marriage. The story told in dialogue, is centered on two main characters- father and daughter. The girl’s perception of her father is highly influenced by her mother’s wealth where she finds it hard to fit into her father’s poverty situation (Saroyan 1963)The father as symbolized by the bug feels squished as the little girl’s perception of him is highly influenced by her mother who does not value her father at all.Saroyan highlights the relationship and conflicts experienced by children and parents’ duet o failed marriages. Divorce is a major problem affecting the society today and the children are mostly victims of their parent’s failed marriages. The girl’s mother does not appreciate her father and influences the girl to do the same since due to her wealth; she does not need the support of the girl’s father.
The girl symbolically abandons her father who is symbolized by the worm which she squished. Therefore, the story gives insight to the emotional torture faced by both parents and children due to parental failed relationships.