The power of information and values in a relationship

In “The Secret Women” by Colette the story is about a man who follows his wife at a masquerade party and watcher her encounters with other men. There is little background information given for why he suspects she might be cheating. Has she been caught lying? Is she more distant recently? There is very little answer given for this.

He watchers her kiss and interact with a number of men and his reaction proves people have different values. At first, he wants to catch her for some reason, and he follows her inside the dance. He misjudges multiple interactions she has as he wants to catch her cheating. The reader might question why he wants to catch her instead of finding out she is faithful.

What I found most interesting from the story though as even though she possibly kissed multiple people he seems almost fine with it.

He was sure now that Irene did not know the young man, drunk with dancing, who she was kissing, nor the Hercules; he was sure that she was was neither waiting nor looking for anyone, and that abandoning the lips she held beneath her own like an empty grape, she was going to leave again the next moment, wander about once more, collect some other passer-by, forget him, and simply enjoy, until she felt tired and went back home,

He believes she is just enjoying herself and not in an affair. His values might be different from the reader who would be upset if their significant other was kissing other but to him, he seems fine with it. The man could also be withholding information that changes the perspective. For example, if he was cheating it would change the way the reader would look at the story. Overall, his reaction is interesting and the lack of background on the charter has the reader question why they react the way they do.

2 thoughts on “The power of information and values in a relationship

  1. Daniel K

    I agree, his reaction is definitely interesting, especially considering how I imagine most people would have reacted to such a situation. I think it’s even more interesting considering the time when this story was published (1924). I imagine such a view would be very uncommon at this time.


  2. Katie G.

    I also find his reaction to her actions interesting. Your take on the possible reasons behind his laid-back reaction was thought provoking. When I was reading it, I thought that despite his understanding of the nature of her actions, he still came off as a little bit judgmental. The way that he described her as “immodest”, “monstrous”, and “irremediable” in order to express her actions at the opera ball made me feel like he was uncomfortable, and even upset with how she was acting.


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