Pygmalion by John Updike involves a man trying t create the perfect wo
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“Pygmalion” by John Updike involves a man trying t create the perfect women.
Pygmalion, the main character, tries to manipulate his second wife so she has the qualities of
his first wife that he likes. He almost achieves his goal, but in the end he fails because he
creates the bad qualities of his first wife in his second wife. Pygmalion must realize that he
must accept people for who they are and not try to manipulate them to is liking.
Pygmalion likes the impressions that Marguerite does, but does not like the fact that
she would always fall asleep during nightly back rubs. His second wife Gwen was lively in
bed. Pygmalion wants the best of both worlds. After parties during the first few years of his
marriage to Gwen he wait for the imitations to begin. “He would even prompt, ‘What did
you think of our hostess’s brother?” He would not get the response that he wanted, she
would reply “he seemed very pleasant.” She knew he was after something but was not sure
what. She eventually did figure out, after a banquet she did her first imitation of
Marguerite’s second husband, which they met at the banquet. She does this to make
Pygmalion feel superior to the second husband of Marguerite.
Pygmalion thinks he has finally achieved the perfect women. She is lively in bed and
makes him laugh with imitations. “She had become perfect for him.” His world was about
to come crashing down. “In bed she pointed out. ‘It’s awfully late.’” Pygmalion then
started the down fall with his own hands. “Want a back rub.” He had just unintentionally
put an end to his perfect wife. “As his left hand labored on the smooth, warm, pliable
surface, his wife- that small something in her that was all her own - sank out of reach; night
after night, she fell asleep.” His quest has failed. Pygmalion had by his own “labor” created
his first wife in his second.
Pygmalion is caught in a circle. He will never be happy until he realizes that he is
part of the problem. His attempt at creating the perfect wife will never be successful. He
must learn to accept people for themselves and accept the qualities and faults of people.
In “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner Emily also tries to change things to her
desires. Emily does it in a slightly different way. She wanted to keep Homer Barron with
her forever. She did this by killing him. Both Emily and Pygmalion manipulate situations to
Emily is determined to change Homer from his ways as a bachelor. Homer was “Not
a marrying man.” He was a Forman that went from town to town, he had no intention of
settling down and getting married. Emily knew this so she took matters into her own hands
and made sure that Homer would never leave her.
Emily had been protected by her father her whole life and after he died she was left
all to herself. She was lost with out her father she would not even admit to his death for two
days. Homer was the first man other than her father to show an interest in her. Emily did
not want to loose another man so she changed Homer so he would not leave her.
Emily and Pygmalion both live in fantasy worlds. They both try to manipulate the
people in their relationships. Emily is successful because she dies before the town can
discover what happened to Homer. She gets her wish because she would have Homer
forever. Pygmalion is not as successful, he is caught in a circle. Pygmalion will never be
happy because he will never find the perfect women. There is no such thing as the perfect
man or women everyone has faults and he must learn to accept people for who they are.
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Pygmalion, Roman mythology, Homer
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