Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Cruel and Barbarous Treatment." Mary McCarthy.

Review: Case history of an extra-marital love affair. Perceptions of the wife who is “engineering” the affair—manipulating lover, husband and friends in a self-directed scenario. In the end she is still playing the role, imagining how others will see her. The whole thing is coolly calculated.

Quote: “She could not bear to hurt her husband…. This was true, and yet she knew that being a potential divorcee was deeply pleasurable in somewhat the same way that being an engaged girl had been.”

Quote: “…and, if she gloated at all, it was over her fine restraint in not gloating.”

Quote: “She got no fun, she told the Young Man, out of putting horns on her darling’s [husband’s] head….”

Quote: “She was not disappointed. She told him at breakfast in a fashionable restaurant, because, she said, he would be better able to control his feelings in public. When he called at once for the check, she had a spasm of alarm lest in an access of brutality or grief he leave her there alone, conspicuous, nay, as it were unfulfilled.”

Quote: “Terrified, she wondered whether she had not already prolonged the dream beyond its natural limits….”

Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A. Erskine. New York: Dell Books. 1954.

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