“ Gender equality is more than a end in itself ” ( Kofi Annan ) . Clearly, the issue of gender inequality and the submissive function of the female in a matrimony still persist in today ‘s modern society. Men historically are raised to contend and take charge, while adult females are expected to obey and back up their household. Such submissive function of adult females is profoundly rooted in our society that many adult females accept the status of being unequal. In “ The Hand, ” Colette provides the readers with a profound penetration into the gender functions in the 20th century, uncovering the possibility of gender inequality at the clip of its authorship. “ The Hand ” relates to a narrative of a immature, freshly married bride and her dormant hubby. By analyzing her hubby ‘s manus, she finally comes to the realisation that the establishment of matrimony is merely simply another measure towards inequality.
Colette ‘s descriptions of the characters illustrate the dominant function of hubby in a matrimony and the instability of power between them. At the beginning of the narrative, Colette describes the matrimony as being “ kidnapped ” because of the married woman ‘s “ stripling ” age ( Colette ) . While the hubby sleeps comfortably, the married woman is awake, “ [ bearing ] the weight of the adult male ‘s caput ” and guaranting his uninterrupted slumber. In fright of waking her sleeping hubby, she farther forfeits her ain comfort and luxury in an exchange for her hubby ‘s demand: “ The arm twisted once more, feebly, and she arched her back to do herself lighter ” ( Colette ) . Even when sleeping, her hubby ‘s dominant function in the household exercises the power over her authorization and at the same clip controls her reactions and organic structure motions. As the married woman shifts her attending and looks adoringly on her hubby ‘s manus, she all of a sudden discovers the implicit in world of her weak and powerless organic structure: “ It ‘s so large! It truly is bigger than my whole caput ” ( Colette ) . Such dumbfounding realisation provokes her initial fright on her hubby ‘s supreme power and authorization. Knowing the fact that her whole organic structure, by comparing, is so little and bantam, she feels vulnerable as if the manus itself symbolizes laterality and control over her full organic structure.
In add-on to the unequal distribution of power in the relationship, the hubby is physically dominant as good. Work forces are typically larger than adult females in both size and physical visual aspect. In contrast to the immature married woman ‘s “ slim, stripling back, ” the hubby is described as holding physically large and powerful arm: “ The visible radiation, . . . spilled up against the manus, and made every contour of the skin apparent, overstating the powerful brass knuckss and the venas engorged by the force per unit area on the arm ” ( Colette ) . By qualifying the hubby as such powerful being, Colette farther exaggerates his powerfulness and compares him to a monstrous animal: “ The pollex stiffened itself out, dreadfully long and spatulate, and pressed tightly against the index finger, so that the manus all of a sudden took on a vile, anthropoid visual aspect ” ( Colette ) . As apparent above, the hubby ‘s physical domination represents the possible maltreatment of power and authorization, which leads to gender inequality.
Beside the sum of physical domination the hubby has over the full relationship, the married woman eventually realizes her hubby has the potency to make injury. As the married woman courageously holds off her fright and continues to analyze her hubby ‘s beastly manus, “ the sound of go throughing auto ” disturbs his slumber ( Colette ) . She watches his manus “ offended, reared back and tensed up in the form of a crab and waited, ready for conflict ” ( Colette ) . These monstrous, terrorizing motions galvanize her as she watches “ the manus, disturbed by a bad dream, . . . grabbed a handful of the sheet, dug into it with its curving fingers, and squeezed, squeezed with the methodical pleasance of a strangler ” ( Colette ) . The hubby reacts to the bad dream with force and defensive behaviour. This type of reaction represents the dominant function in the relationship. Clearly, the hubby has the absolute power over anything ; if she of all time challenges his authorization, he could easy destruct her.
Ultimately, the manus symbolizes the ugly truth. The truth of recognizing the hubby ‘s absolute domination over the relationship forces the married woman to populate in the shadow of her hubby. In the 20th century, gender inequality was really common within the society. Majority of adult females were frequently expected to play the low-level function in a matrimony. Knowing that such societal norm at that clip was impossible to get away, really frequently, the lone defence these adult females had is to populate on and courageously accept the function of entry. In fact, Colette ‘s description the married woman ‘s credence and her get downing life of “ fraudulence, of surrender, and of a easy dedicated diplomatic negotiations ” indicate her wakeup call and her expelling realisation of the existent matrimony ( Colette ) . The manus is at that place and the gender inequality will still prevail in the society ; hence, she will hold to get the better of the fright and travel frontward by non turning back.