"The Girls In Their Summer Dresses" by Irwin Shaw_
The American writer Irwin Shaw is known as a bright connoisseur of stylistics. His style is called conscientious and resembling. Hemingway's one, that is concerning realism, method of iceberg when the message is contained in simple forms, simple syntax and so on. The short story "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" is a vivid example of Irwin Shaw's style of writing. The plot of the story centers round a young couple who once touched upon the topic of sex relations and this talk could change their life. The subject matter of the story is relationship of men and women / man's position to the way of living.
First and foremost I want to say that to me the story is marked with realistic description of the events. And an extensive use of proper names contributes to creating a realistic atmosphere: "Fifth Avenue, Washington Square, Eighth Street, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Radio City, Fourty Fourth Street, Ohio."
So, in other words, the story makes an impression to be a concrete representation of actual life in New York City.
Besides, the setting is important for an additional effect. It symbolizes the emotional state of the major characters, Frances and Michael. Revealing a bright, vivid day full of hopes and dreams, the author adheres to the repetition of a noun "sun" and its derivatives: "Sunday, sunlight"; and the choice of words: "mild wind, warm, shining quiet"; that help to see a psychological parallelism between the characters and nature around them. It shows that this couple feels at this moment nothing but happy, joyful, serene, as they have an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful life. Besides, such a stylistic device as alliteration of the sound [w] produces the effect of infinite peace of mind, tranquility, characteristic for absolutely happy, pleased people and such were the major characters:
"they walked toward Washington Square, walking slowly, quiet"
But from the very beginning the author proves to reader that these relationships are more important, more significant for a wife, Frances. The reader grasps the idea that Frances really feels a deep and pure love toward her husband. The use of anaphoric repetition and parallel constructions serves to convey to the reader woman's attitude, emotions:
"I want to go out with my husband all day long. I want him to talk only to me and listen only to me."
And Frances' emotional state, her feeling of happiness to be near a dearly loved person predetermines the romantic mood. The writer conveys this dreaming romantic atmosphere using a gradation:
"First let's go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art ... We can take the bus down to Radio City ... And later we'll go down to Cavanaugh's ... and after that there's a French picture ..."
But then the phrase "say, are you listening to me?" (anticlimax) destroys this thrilled mood as if coming down to earth. This phrase is considered a crucial moment when the author reveals the change of the atmosphere, from pleasant to a tense one. And Michael tries to return the previous state of things to hush up that unpleasant moment. The author brings this to the reader's notice using polysyndeton:
"God gave me eyes and I look at women and men and subway excavations and moving pictures and the little flowers of the field."
But nevertheless the situation is different: gloomy, tense and disillusioned. The choice of words helps to bring this idea out: "said flatly, walked without talking, her tone a good imitation".
Moreover, the author reveals the essence of the hidden problem gradually, step by step. The first step was to show that Frances doesn't believe in Michael's serious attitude toward her and their marriage. The repetition of the phrase "All right!" underlines that Frances got tired of some unnecessary explanations of her husband.
The second step is Michael's phrase "I remember the hat" which, to tell the truth, stuck me, because I expected a phrase "I remember the look". But this only sentence points out, in my opinion, that Frances was only one of the girls Michael liked and she didn't signify anything special for him.
At the third step the author reveals Michael's attitude to women in general. First of all it is admiration: he says about them in the superlative degree: "the best furs, the best clothes, the handsomest women."
Then it is their significance in his life. The use of anaphoric repetition "I like the girls/ women" demonstrates properly that women took a great place in Michael's heart and that he lived in order to see the girls and nothing or nobody could change his nature.
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