As the story starts, the two seem completely happy and in love, just strolling down the street with the other loved up couples. When the story unfolds at first, it seems that Michael’s wandering eye is mostly harmless. From the examples in the story, it seems that Michael only really enjoyed taking in the beauty of other women, though he did nothing about it. If Michael had not admitted to just how much he liked looking at other women later in the story, I would have just thought that Frances was just a little too insecure and clingy.
If he did not actually go up and talk to these women, did not start any type of affair, and only looked at them, I do not exactly see that it was too much of an issue. Although, I am sure it would have been very annoying to be Frances; talking to a husband who was too busy making other girls blush to look at you. Later on, this first impression of Michael’s wandering being harmless is rather shattered, of course, as his problem is fully revealed, and it seems more like an addiction that could destroy their marriage.
How badly his behavior affects Frances, and his admittance that he knows he will make a move someday completely change the idea that his problem is “harmless. ” After the second reading 2. What is the conflict? What does each character want from the other? The conflict is that Michael’s constant wandering gaze hurts Frances. He says he has not touched another woman, he just looks at them. Frances, however, says that she never even looked at another man, and that is why she cannot understand why Michael acts the way he does.
She wants Michael to only look at her and only talk to her; his looking at other women so much makes her feel insecure, as if she is not as pretty as those other girls. She feels that she is not good enough for him, and he will cheat on her or leave her soon. Michael, on the other hand, wants Frances to just do what she has been doing; being a devoted and loving wife to him. He swears that his addiction to looking at women is harmless, and that it really should not hurt her so much; it is just the way he is.
3. At first they talk of spending the day alone, but by the end of the story they decide to call the Stevensons. What stages can you discern in this progression? Is there a climax? A resolution? At the end of the story, it seems that they both realized that their relationship is doomed. Michael did not want to leave her for some reason, and she did not want to leave either until that final betrayal. The conflict starts when Frances teases Michael about breaking his neck looking at the one girl.
The rising action continues as the teasing slowly turns into a fight as Michael continues to look at other girls, even though Frances called him out on it. The climax occurs when Michael admits that he “knows” that he will make a move someday, as this confirms Frances’ biggest fears about their marriage; fears she had not allowed to rise to the surface until then. There is no concrete resolution in the story. The couple’s relationship is obviously irreparably damaged, as they chose to drive to the country with the Stevensons instead of spending the day just the two of them, as they discussed.
However, the reader is left wondering whether the two will break up soon enough, or continue their damaged relationship. 4. What other things do you notice? I noticed that while Michael’s wandering eye was the main issue, Frances also has some problems. She teases Michael about his weight near the start of the story; she herself is a very insecure person, but she says something like that directly, although she does soften it by saying she likes having 5 pounds more of her husband.
She also expects much from Michael, even knowing the way he is. She whines about how he looks at girls, but she married him knowing that he does that. Basically, she is having the relationship with herself, and Michael was simply not living up to the husband she wants him to be. She plans their day by herself, phrasing her questions in a way that Michael can only agree with her to appease her; she does not even ask Michael what he wants to do with the day, except as a rhetorical question.
5. What questions do you still have? The obvious question is: what happens next? Do they stay together until Michael inevitably cheats, or do they eventually break up? Another question that bothers me is that, if Michael had been that way for 10 years, ever since he came to New York from Ohio, then surely Frances must have noticed it while they were still dating. Why would she marry a man who stared at every other girl in the street?