The Secret Woman

Although The Secret Woman was a relatively short story, it had many complex themes that should be discussed. The story is told through a husband’s perspective as we follow him through an Opera he attended without his wife, Irene. However, upon hearing a cough, he realizes his wife decided to go there without him. As he follows her throughout the night, his perspective of her completely changes. At the beginning of the story, Irene is described as fragile, shy, and overall, the definition of what a lady should be. However, as he experiences her having relations with other men, his perspective drastically changes. Suddenly, she is disgusting, crude, and immodest. This story highlights a very common problem in society and gender roles. The male gaze praises women who are submissive, kind, and gentle. Women should be alluring or else they are ugly, but not too alluring because then they would be considered promiscuous. This is exactly what we see through the husband’s eyes in the story. His wife is perfect in his eyes until he sees her at this party. After seeing her behavior at the party, he is almost distraught and starts to describe his wife as having satanic behavior. Seeing the story through his eyes is important because it shines a light on this certain mindset many individuals have. He was at the Opera for the same reasons she was there however, he completely neglects that fact and chooses to criticize his wife because she is no longer behaving the way he sees fit for a woman to behave. By shining a light on this, it makes it easier to see how harmful this mindset is for women.

2 thoughts on “The Secret Woman

  1. kewerthmann

    I totally agree with this. Her husband is there for the same reasons however he does not address that. But when she is there for that reason he makes her sound like such a horrible person. it is unfair, he is making double standards.



    I agree, that the double standards in this story are played out in a very interesting way that makes the reader follow them all the way through the story, especially since it is from the husband’s perspective.


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