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On one level A Gentle Creature is a love story However instead of fulfilling romantic ideals A Gentle Creature portrays a battleground Instead of a tale of mutual happiness through mutual submission it tells of a power struggle between the narrator and his wife Despite the fact that the husband possesses all of the storys narrative time it is his wife who through her death eventually triumphs The entire tale is the futile attempt of the narrator to regain the power he loses when his wife commits suicide There are many examples of how the narrator attempts to control his wifenot only throughout her lifetime but from beyond the grave For example the text never provides the reader with a name for the narrators wife Thus she exists in the text only through her relationship to the narrator On that basic level she is denied her own individuality Although the narrator himself also goes nameless this namelessness does not imply the same lack of control Because the husband possesses all of the narrative force within the text his refusal to provide a name is irrelevant to the power struggle inherent in A Gentle Creature Unlike her namelessness the narrators is his own conscious choice From the very beginning of their relationship the narrator is attracted by his future wifes helpless situation When she is attempting to pawn more or less worthless items the narrator is willing to part with two roubles for the chance of triumphing over her pride She flushed crimson againbut swallowed the insult didnt fling the money back at me Took it like a lamb Thats what poverty does for youP 672 He is pleased to discover that she is proud not because pride implies inner nobility or strength of character but because Proud women are particularly good whenwell when youre no longer in doubt about your power over themP 680 It is this love of mastery that draws the
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