"How Vainly Men Themselves Amaze" Interpretation

Topics: Love, Marriage, Adultery Pages: 3 (895 words) Published: December 4, 2012
I'm going to interpret a short story called «How vainly men themselves amaze». This is a story about a holiday affair turning into a love triangle between young Franklin, a married woman Mrs Palgrave and her German nursemaid Heidi. The plot of the story is not tangle. Eighteen years old high-school graduate Franklin being on holiday with his parents at French resort gets to know Mrs Palgrave, an auburn-haired woman about forty with mottled and stencilled green eyes. Gradually their acquaintance turns out to be a love affair. Every afternoon they drive to a remote bay surrounded by rocks and pines to have a good time there taking pictures and enjoying themselves. The plot undergoes a drastic turn when Mrs Palgrave leaves Franklin for three days, going away to London. Having declared her that he would miss her badly, Franklin found that he hardly missed her at all. What seemed to be an impassioned love proved to be just an exhausting passion, to Franklin's great surprise. In revulsion of sentiment he develops friendly relations with Heidi, a baby-sitter, who is looking after Mrs Palgrave's children. One day he even invites her to a sea restaurant, where while having dinner takes notice how opposite she is from Mrs Palgrave. So, having already fallen out of his previous love he dares to kiss Heidi while driving back from the restaurant. The story finishes when Franklin finds out that Heidi was sent home by Mrs Palgrave, aссused of being too unreliable for a baby-sitter, “caught up in a cheap intrigue” by her words. The last time Franklin saw Mrs Palgrave was the next afternoon, when he came across her walking with her husband, a prim-looking man around sixty. The story ends with Franklin's words in a desperate voice, which were “Heidi, where can I find you?”. By means of the story and its characters the author raises many issues. The first problem to point out is a marital infidelity, obviously shown by Mrs Palgrave behavior. Mr Palgrave, a silent conventional man,...
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