The Hand

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The short story "The Hand" is about the role of the sexes. The author was a significant feminist voice in the twentieth century and in this story she showed that men where said to be dominant over females. She wrote the story close to home for young, female brides who have married older, more experienced men. The young women were already in a place of submission because they just left their parents. Colette points out an uneven power in marriage and shows how the young wife slowly sees that her husband prevails over her.

Colette starts the story out by making a role of submission in the wife, and domination in the husband, making an unbalance of power. Colette also uses the description of the husband and wife to stress the unbalance of power. The young wife is described as slim and adolescent. The husband outweighs the wife in the relationship but he also is physically dominant, good-looking and athletic. Therefore, the husband doesn't only have just mental powers but physical as well.

The setting takes place with the wife lying beside the husband. The wife is excited about being with him because "it had only been two weeks since she had begun to live the scandalous life of a newlywed who tastes the joys of living with someone unknown and with whom she is in love" (Colette 259). The wife was still child-like in that she couldn't believe she was married and was now living with a man she hardly knew. She proudly supported the weight of his head so he would remain comfortable. However, the wife will not even move because she does not want to disturb his sleeping body. In the wife's mind, not consciously but subconsciously, the husband has authority over her. The wife goes to great expense to comfort her husband, for example, "the arm twisted again, feebly, and she arched her back to make herself lighter" (Colette 260). At this point she is giving into him, even though the husband is not consciously making her do this, the wife feels as if it is her...
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