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A Respectable Woman (Question/Answer)

 A Respectable Woman


Understanding the text

a. Why was Mrs. Baroda unhappy with the information about Gouvernail's visit to their farm?

→ Mrs. Baroda was unhappy because her husband's friend Gouvernail was intending to spend a week or two at their plantation, as she had planned a period of time for rest and relaxation which she had talked to her husband Gaston Baroda after they had been busy all winter.

b. How was Gouvernail different from Mrs. Baroda's expectation?

→Gouvernall was different from Mrs Baroda's expectation as she imagined him to be tall, thin, and cynical, wearing eyeglasses but when she met him, he was neither tall nor cynical. She didn’t believe him as smart and clever but her mental sketch was totally different when she met her.

c. How does Mrs Baroda compare Gouvernail with her husband?

→Mrs Baroda finds Gouvernail attractive, but she does not perceive the same traits in him as her husband. She couldn't find any of the brilliant qualities that Gaston, her husband, had. Mrs. Baroda considers him unsociable in comparison to her husband because he does not appear to be paying attention to her.

d. Why and how did Mrs. Baroda try to change Gouvernail's solitary habits?

→Mrs Baroda wanted Gouvernail as more talkative and frank to her. She also wanted he should pay attention to her that’s why she tried to change his solitary habits. She expected him to be more interesting. She attempted to change her solitary habits by assuring him to be more talkative and adaptable to the situation.

e. How does Gaston disagree with his wife on Gouvernail's character?

→Gaston disagrees with his wife's on Gouvernail's character as she has remarked his character as less interesting and shy person/guy but Gaston remarks him that he is a remarkable, friendly, interesting, and talkative figure.

f. Why is Gaston surprised with his wife's expression towards the end of the story?

→Gaston is surprised with his wife's expression towards the end of the story because she proposes by herself to have Gouvernail visit them again before the year ended which he has not ever expected from her side.



Reference to the context

a. What is the cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda's mind? What role does Mrs Baroda 'belng a respectable woman' play in the story?

→The cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda’s mind is that her mental image of Governail and the real character and his looks. In the same way, her attraction to her husband's friend is also the main cause of conflict in Mrs. Baroda's mind. Mrs Baroda appears to be bound by society's perception of what makes a respectable woman. Mrs Baroda seems to be attracted to Gouvernail, but she controls her urges to touch his face  because she believes that she is a respectable woman and is probably afraid of what society might think of her. She controls herself.

b. Sketch the character of Gouvernail and contrast it with Gaston.

→ From the short story "A Respectable Woman", we can find that Gouvernail in the present is a journalist. He is not as social as his friend Gaston since he does not appear to pay enough attention to the people around him. Gaston is the story's only supporting character. He highly appreciates his friend Gouvernail, describing him as "intelligent" and a "man of ideas" to his wife.

c. Why does Mrs Baroda not disclose her feelings towards Gouvernail to her husband?

→ Mrs Baroda does not disclose her feelings towards Gouvernail to her husband because she appears in the story as a respectable woman. To be respectable woman she has to follow the norms and values of the society. Mrs. Baroda is well aware that society would view her actions because she is a married woman. Her beliefs about what makes a woman respectable in society take priority over her feelings and desires. Her fear of what society might think of her and her perception that she is a respectable woman prevented Mrs. Baroda from telling her husband about her emotions for Gouvernail.

d. The last three sentences of the story bring a kind of twist. After reading these three sentences, how do you analyze Mrs. Baroda's attitude towards Gouvernail?

→The last three sentences of the story bring a kind of twist in the story "A Respectable Woman". The story has presented a sudden change in Mrs. Baroda's inner feeling and way of thinking in the last three sentences. She has found the courage to prevail over her emotions, she approaches her husband and makes a charmingly vague remark that reopens the issue of whether or not she intends to act on her feelings. She tells him that "I have overcome everything! You'll find out soon enough. I'm going to be extra kind to him this time." At first sight, Mrs. Baroda's remark seems to imply that she has recovered control over her emotions. Overcoming "everything" seems to imply that she has triumphed over not just her dissatisfaction with Gouvernail, but also her unrespectable love emotions for him. Mrs. Baroda has not only changed her mind about Gouvernail but she may also no longer be bound by society's view of what makes a respectable woman. Mrs. Baroda has achieved freedom outside of the boundaries of society. We can assume that Mrs. Baroda has not only overcome her own and society's perceptions of what a respectable woman is, but she is also ready to pursue a relationship with Gouvernail by telling Gaston, “I shall be very nice to him." 

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