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The Hidden Betrayals


Daniel Belbin

Martha Wells

English 1080

August 3, 2005

The Hidden Betrayals

There are many times in relationships where there is doubt about the honesty between the partners and the stories "Can-can" by Arturo Vivante and "The Hidden Women" by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette demonstrate some of the not too pleasant truths about how this can come about. In the story "Can-can," the way the story is told, a man is leaving his wife at home, whilest he goes off to meet another woman, but at the same time regreting what it is he is doing. And in the story "The Hidden Woman," we are told of a woman who lies to her husband and runs off to a costume ball, where she runs into many men, whom she does not know, and not knowing her, flirts, dances and kisses them, whilst the husband watches, trying to figure out what it is for. Each of these stories feature a scenerio where either the man or the woman is the one cheating, which demonstrates that both genders are capable of this deception. Also in both of these stories, we are given the information of what is goi 19419h710t ng on by way of the husband's perspective and thoughts of these situations. Both of these stories feature some form of irony which is either due to the story line not following what the reader expects or the content of each of these stories has aspects which also is not what the reader expects to be used as.

The story "Can-can," written by Arturo Vivante is the story of a man who leaves his wife and daughter at home to meet another woman who the reader is given the impression that he is going to cheat on his wife with. When he leaves the house, he finds his wife in the middle of the living room, doing the can-can, which he would never expect her to do. It is at this point in the story in which the husband begins to regret what it is he is planning to do, he had expected his wife to be doing something boring before he left, not something such as the can-can, this tells the reader that he might be doing this because he was not as attacted to his wife as he had been previously in their marriage. When he waits for the woman , Sarah, he seems to be rethinking what it is he is planning on doing and begins to hope she never shows up but at the same time wanting her to show. When she arrives thirty minutes late, he tells her that he had almost given up hope, but it is unclear which it was he had almost given up, the hope that she would show up or that she wouldn't. Even after they arrive at the cottage which he was planning to go to in the first place, he stills has the thoughts of regreting the fact the he is cheating on his wife. The whole situation has a notion of irony in it, in that he plans the whole thing with this other woman but he later regrets it and hopes it never happens at all. This could be considered situational irony because the reader wouldn't expect someone who has put so much effort into such an ordeal wouldn't have second thoughts and would be hoping otherwise of that plan. But this story also has the situation where the husband leaves his wife doing something that he himself would not normally expect her to do, which is in a way his own irony.

The story "The Hidden Woman," which is written by Colette, has some of the same aspects as the previous case but it does not follow a simialar plot. In this story, the husband tells his wife that he will be out off town one night and they will not be able to attend an Opera Ball which she had wanted to. The reader later finds out that this is not so, he instead leaves the house in order to watch to see if she herself leaves, which she does, to go to the Ball. The husband follows her, and goes in the Ballroom after her, and since the reader is told it is a costume party, she never recognizes him, however, the speaker, the husbad, realizes it's her from things such as her voice and the gold case for her lipstick. He follows her for most of the night, not letting her know it is him, trying to figure out why she lied to him and to find out if she was meeting someone there.Over the coarse of the night, he notices her flirting with a few individuals whom he is convinced, she does not know. At the end of the story, the speaker tells the reader that the reason he has come up with to explain why she has done all this, is that she misses the single life, and she wanted to relive that feeling at least one more time. As in the other story, "Can-can," this story also has a sense of situational irony to it, in that most readers would have expected her to have been waiting for someone, because the husband, through the understanding of his thoughts and feelings, gives that impression. Also, just as in the previous story, the speaker himself also does something different then what the reader exects, with is another form of situational irony focused around the main charcter. When his wife kisses one of the men sh flirts with, the husbad does not break them up, which the reader would expect.

Both these stories focus around a situation where the reader is told the circumstances of what is going on in the story from the husband's perspective. However, the object of the betrayal is either from the female in one story or the male in the other, with gives the reader the opportunity to view the thoughts and feelings of both sides. Both of these stories also, because of this difference go against what is a standard stereotypical gender role in adultery. In a situation where the person feels guilt for the betrayal, like in "Can-can," it is stereotypical for the female to play this role, however, it goes against this and the author chooses the male. And in "The Hidden Woman," where the spouse, as their motive is simply for wanting to be feel free and do as they please, without any fear of reprecussions, it is stereotypical the the male to fill this role. Both these situations, for these reasons also share a sense of situational irony, again, but for the reason of not following what most readers consider standard belief of these types of situations.

Each of these stories feature it's own form of betrayal in a marriage, either from the part of the male or female. The story "Can-can," features a situation where the man is cheating in his wife with another woman, but at the same time regreting it because he has missunderstood what kind of person his wife really is and see's her in a diffenerent way then before. And in "The Hidden Woman," the situation is that the wife goes off to a Mascurade Ball where she is followed by her husband that see's her flirting with a few of the masked men there, which he later concludes to be because she is looking to get back the freedon that she thinks she has lost from their marriage. Both these stories features different situations which the betrayal is from, however, they both are told from the perspective of the husband in both stories, giving the reader knowledge into his thoughts and feelings. As well, both these stories feature a form of irony where the reader expects one ending to the plot to unfold but instead goes in a another direction. And both stories feature situational irony where individual points in the story that contribute to the plot but are not used in an expected.

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