The Girls in Their Summer Dresses Analysis

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Irwin Shaw was a master, an excellent novelist, we observe the behavior of the characters from the side, drawing our own conclusions. His short stories are distinguished by a subtle psychological characterization of the characters, grace in all respects. Reading Girls in Their Summer Dresses, we ask ourselves the question: Is beauty salvation or destruction? The emphasis in the novel is on unhappy family relationships.

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The Story and Its Author

Irvine Shaw was an American writer and playwright who had a truly unique ability to combine depth and intense intrigue in his works. He skillfully built the plot, polished the dialogues to perfection, and painted vivid images of the characters. Shaw is one of the few writers who is able to convey high meaning in a simple and captivating form. During his life, he wrote many exciting stories and novels that have not lost their popularity so far (Shnayerson 15). Just like with many other authors relevant to the present day, Shaw managed to remain eternal largely due to the depth and the choice of themes that bring up the very essential qualities of human beings.

The short story Girls in Their Summer Dresses is a great example of the author's early prose written in 1939. A young married couple walks along the spring streets of New York through the sun-drenched city, desired by each other, cheerful. Many beautiful women, who have thrown off their coats, are walking by on this bright, fine day. Every man rejoices at the sight of beautiful legs in short skirts, smiles on the faces of young girls after a long winter, where everyone goes wrapped in their clothes (Shaw). Essentially, thus, the story begins with a rather detailed description of the surroundings, immediately immersing readers into the story and grabbing the attention that is kept until the end.

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The heads of the unfortunate, obeying their courageous natures, revolve around the axis. The author makes the main emphasis in his short story on family relationships, rather unhappy than happy. This is the inconstancy of men, inadequate jealousy of women, and relationships that have become disgusting in a short period of marriage. There is an abyss between two people and each of them feels it perfectly. "You always look at other women," Frances said. "At every damn woman in the city of New York” (Shaw). All this Shaw tells with slight irony on the part of a psychologist.

Critics singled out the ingeniously constructed plot and stylistic richness in the first collections of Irvine Shaw. The author was called a talented writer of the younger generation. Irwin Shaw is the owner of a number of significant awards: he received two O. Henry awards, which are given out for the best story, he was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1943, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (Shnayerson 78). Not only does Shaw’s talent to display the setting and then discreetly ironize about it but also his general acclaim creates enormous credibility for the author.

The circulation of the writer's books exceeded 14 million, and his works have been translated into 25 languages, many of them have been filmed. However, since the 1950s, critics have been dismissive of Irwin, and only after the death of the writer, did Shaw's biography and work begin to be seriously studied. In the early works of the writer there is a characteristic innuendo, and behind the simple form lies rich content (Shnayerson 100-101). Shaw’s ability to relate to some of the most essential characteristics of humans is, perhaps, what makes his stories so recognizable. In his Girls in Their Summer Dresses, Shaw demonstrates how joy is fragile and can be almost entirely ruined by a short careless exchange.

Conclusion

The early prose of Irving Shaw is beautiful in every way: it is subtly written about the feelings of a married couple. He and She, a bit of misunderstanding between them, anxiety for the future, which the two do not see. There are many attractive girls and women in New York. The behavior of the protagonist suggests that he is sexually preoccupied. Before the reader, there is a rude and insensitive person who does not cause any positive feelings. It is uninteresting and even disgusting to study him and follow his reasoning, and it is a pity for his wife, who fell in love with such a person.

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Works Cited

Shaw, Irwin. “The Girls In Their Summer Dresses” The New Yorker, 1939, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1939/02/04/girls-in-their-summer-dresses.

Shnayerson, Michael. Irwin Shaw. Putnam, 1989.

May 12, 2022
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