The short story, “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” written by Frtiz Leiber tells a story of an enigma and a man. This enigma has no name and is just referred as The Girl. The girl is perceived as being otherworldly and fawned over by countless people and the narrator says, “Why I can’t stand to go downtown and see the mob slavering up at her on the tower.”1 The narrator seems to despise the girl for the attention she receives and the fact that she has not been photographed, “finally – and this is the real killer – why hasn’t she ever been drawn or painted?”1 However, the narrator seems to be enthralled by the girl and photographs her. This essay will analyze the girl and her role in the theme of gender roles and sexuality.
The girl is described by the narrator as being “slightly gaunt, almost prim face, the tumbling mass of dark hair, and looking out from under it the hungriest eyes in the world,”1 there seems to be an intense fascination for this woman, since she is highly attractive and mysterious. The girl is “utterly aloof, reveals nothing about her past, and when she talks to the photographer it's in a condescending tone,”3 she has a sort of confidence that does not sit well with the narrator. This type of attitude goes against values that have been imposed on women. Hughes states that women were “separate spheres” from men and needed to be weaker but morally strong,2 this goes against what the girl was. She was strong willed, sexual and a model instead of focusing on domestic duties.
The girl is the complete opposite of society’s forced gender roles. She does not abide by these rules and is seen to be sexual when she decides to take a man home and the narrator sees.1 The girl seems to feed on people’s attention and desires anonymity since no one has been able to interview her or capture her except one photographer. She is able to enthrall others and use peoples’ attention for her gain.4 The girl takes pictures in lingerie for the world to see and as a vampire she does not only take blood but also men’s attention and uses it for pleasure.5 The girl remains anonymous because she holds a dark secret, but she also does not have a name in the story. She does not have a name because she does not meet the standards of being a respectable woman, but instead she is sexual, independent, and does not focus on finding a husband. She is trying to make a career for herself from the attraction of others and this does not sit well with the narrator. This may not sit well with him due to his preconceived notions of how a woman should carry herself.