Essay #3, Revised
Women on the Thread.
Though born in far different places, the each three authors, Alifa Rifaat, Clarice Lispector, and
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, wrote stories that well reflect the innate insecurity faced by three
different female characters in relation with their own lives. I came to realize how the ways each
characters react to the male-dominant society directly mirror either their own past experiences or
desires to “break through” the wall of gender stereotype. “The Body” written by Lispector,
“Another Evening at the Club” by Rifaat, and “The Other Wife” by Colette merge on the point
toward the subtle need of change in the attitude of women to stand equal next to men instead of
being mere puppets for men. Those three seemingly unrelated stories will be analyzed through
their gender and biographical backgrounds. Three writers commonly aspire to motivate women to
their lives to the fullest instead of merely existing for men as they all exclusively represent the dire
need of feminism to be prevalent.
In “The Other Wife”, based on the research I had done earlier for my presentation, Colette
definitely replicates herself in the character of Marc’s ex-wife in the story. The ex-wife is praised
to be elegant and “difficult” lady whose posture shows the unshakable composure and charisma
as opposed to many typical women in the particular late 19th century French society, who are
expected to follow the lead of men. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Colette is said to "have
divorced three times" in the past. The ex-wife in the story imitates the real Colette. I assure that
she, at least, wanted to make herself compatible with the lone ex-wife who glares with pride and
dignity in the story that defies being owned by any man. It is very apparently shown in the story
that reflects her sarcastic perspective toward the other women’s tendency to depend on men. For
example, Colette makes fun of the newly-wed couple as they are described to be self-conscious
and pretentious lovers in overall. Colette shows her despise upon the couple as narrator says
“They smiled at one another, wasting the precious time of an overworked maitre d’” (Colette 525).
Any action or behaviors of both couple is narrated to be more immature than romantic. Instead,
being totally speechless and untouchable, the ex-wife is described to be carefree, yet imposing.
She sits calmly smoking, self-contained and indifferent both to her surroundings and to the
couple. The composure and sophistication of the first wife reflects on Alice, making her appear
both naive and youthfully dependent on her husband's praise. The ex-wife has more power than
either of the two newlyweds and she is not even aware of it. Having had engaged into
homosexual relationship with another woman, Colette never revealed any hesitation in exploring
her sexuality regardless of whom she fall in love with. "Their onstage kiss nearly caused a riot,