ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Analysis of The Other Paris by Mavis Gallant

Updated on January 31, 2013
Ebey Soman profile image

I am a working professional who shares a deep passion for writing and likes to share his thoughts using credible sources and facts

Book Cover
Book Cover | Source

Book Analysis


The institution that was once valued to be of utmost importance has become devalued over time. Mavis Gallant’s pensive observation of the devaluation of the institution of marriage has led him to provide social commentary in his novel; “The Other Paris.” Gallant has painted a sarcastic yet serious picture of the nuptial tie between his two characters Carol and Howard with a brilliant technique; he uses a narrative voice employing fine details, vivid imagery and cliché symbols. As he progresses through the excerpt, Gallant explicitly describes the characteristics of both his characters. He expounds on Howard and Carol: to note the evolution from marrying from love to finding the ‘perfect mate.’ One can gather from Gallant’s commentary that marriage has been reduced from finding true love to searching the most suitable ‘mate’.

Gallant uses symbolism as the first part of his narrative technique to begin his subtle statements on society’s value of holy matrimony. Symbolism is first employed in the title, where Paris is seen as the city of all lovers where all perfect romances and proposals bud. Next he brings in to light the misty background around the Eiffel tower, a cliché symbol for the perfect romance. He further uses imagery such as the “barrows of violets” and “acacias in flowers” to convey the feeling of perfect proposal. The next technique used by Gallant is the fine detail such as “tuna fish” and the time span Howard and Carol had known each other. He purposely includes the time span to convey a sense of surprise; was it really possible a couple would marry only after three weeks of knowing each other? Gallant states the obvious point that marriage is no longer based on love, passion and self-sacrifice; however it is based on the degree of social ‘commonness’ that is present between couples. Gallant shows how marriage has evolved from being sacrificial to being selfish because spouses tend to marry only when they possess something “in common.” The social commentary Mavis Gallant has given in his novel is only possible through a narrative voice, which enables him to provide social statements that the value of holy matrimony is decreasing as time passes on.

Gallants subtly reasons that marriage in essence has lost its value because the individuals who get married, do not get married because of true love as in the case of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s novel; nevertheless they marry because they feel external pressures from their surroundings. To better understand Carol and Howard, Gallant gives fine details about both the characters. He starts with how Carol has the “business of falling in love” giving the feeling that loving a spouse is just another chore among the daily squabbles of life. Next he narrates Carol’s naïve thinking about how love can grow under “ a good climate, enough money…” But the epitome of characterization is reached when he narrates that Carol had taken college classes to love her spouse. Gallant expounds this detail about Carol’s character to show her foolishness because it is ridiculous that on has to take college classes to love and marry. Through the description of Carol’s character, he has subtly made the statement that love is just another subject of scrutiny in higher institution of learning. Next Gallant explicates Howard who is seen as though he was forced in to marriage. When one reads this excerpt, it can be understood that Howard was a “discontented bachelor”; trying to ease his discontentment by marrying Carol. Howard is getting married to Carol only because his sister had told him he had to marry “some nice girl…” Force plays a major role in matrimonies and Gallant recognizes the effect through Howard, who is under pressure to marry some one quickly. Gallant characterized Carol and Howard as bumbles to illustrate the thought that love is no longer needed, but rather finding the ‘perfect mate’ is the only thing that matters which has ultimately devalued the value of holy matrimony.

Through his novel, Mavis Gallant wishes to point out that love is absolutely necessary for a successful matrimonial relationship. Merely finding a ‘good mate’ and hoping to nurture love under good circumstance such as “good climate” is ultimate foolishness, which can lead to failure and divorce. Finally, Gallant comments that society is twisting the sacred institution of marriage in to another ritual depriving the relationship of self-sacrifice and love. He implies that finding a mate is easy as even animals can do that, but what they can not do is love and in the novel “The Other Paris”, he comments that man is on his way to become more like an animal since all he needs to survive is ‘perfect mate.’

Paris Stories (New York Review Books Classics)
Paris Stories (New York Review Books Classics)

Buy The Book Online - A paperback version of this story by itself is available from Amazon for $14.99

 

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    R. Penn 

    7 years ago

    Mavis Gallant is a woman. Wake up.

  • profile image

    k. Anderson 

    7 years ago

    Mavis Gallant was a woman. "The Other Paris" is a short story. This analysis is a bunch of hooey.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)