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Wife Wooing Essay

678 words - 3 pages

The story's framework is simple: the protagonist/narrator has gone to a diner and gotten take-out hamburgers and fries for his wife and children; now they are at home, seated in front of the fire, eating. The narrator looks at his wife and realizes that even after seven years and three small children, he still loves his wife and finds her sexually exciting, despite the fact she has put on a considerable amount of weight and might not even be particularly attractive by contemporary standards of beauty. He observes, also, that there is something different about wooing a woman that one is married to, as opposed to courting a relative stranger, and yet wives still have to be wooed to keep them interested: he notes that "wife" is "a knife of a word that for all its final bite did not end the wooing. To my wonderment." The story follows our narrator as he goes to bed with his wife; although he does not verbalize this to her, he would be interested in having sex, but she wants to read a book on Richard Nixon. As soon as she settles in, however, she is sound asleep. In the morning her husband looks at her and does not find her sexually attractive at all; he still loves her, but the mood of the previous night is broken. He goes to work and returns, with "a technicality it would take weeks to explain to you snag[ged] in my brain;" engrossed in the nagging problem he brought home from work, he is surprised when his wife comes in to him, obviously with romantic intent -- "with a kiss of toothpaste moist and girlish and quick." He leaves his rehashing of his work problems to enjoy her love.Despite the fact that this is a story about two people -- five if one includes the children, but they are essentially interlopers in the tale -- Updike vividly creates a setting in which the principal players are completely isolated from one another's...

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