Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
She was a little fuller of figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost nothing of her vivacity. Her blue eyes still retained their melting quality; and her yellow hair, disheveled by the wind and rain, kinked more stubbornly than ever about her ears and temples. (2.7)
The passage of time has only made Calixta more beautiful and desirable. The narrator moves back and forth here between using positive and negative terms to describe how, despite the ways in which she's changed, Calixta is still essentially the same. Even though she's gotten a "little fuller," she has all the personality she had before, and then some.
Her lips were as red and moist as pomegranate seed. Her white neck and a glimpse of her full, firm bosom disturbed him powerfully. As she glanced up at him the fear in her liquid blue eyes had given place to a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire. (2.17)
The pomegranate seed could be a reference to Persephone of Greek myth and her trip to the underworld with the king of the dead. While the pomegranate seed unknowingly tempted Persephone into staying in the underworld six months of the year, Calixta's mouth knowingly tempts Alcée into embarking upon a sexual adventure.
If she was not an immaculate dove in those days, she was still inviolate; a passionate creature whose very defenselessness had made her defense, against which his honor forbade him to prevail. Now – well, now – her lips seemed in a manner free to be tasted, as well as her round, white throat and her whiter breasts. (2.18)
The "immaculate dove" could be a reference to the Virgin Mary, but Alcée is careful to say that Calixta was by no means as innocent as Mary would have been. Even so, her femininity was something he wasn't permitted to take for himself. Paradoxically, only when she becomes unavailable to him by marrying another man does she "seem[. . .] free to be tasted."