Editha William Howells

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Literary works during the nineteenth century focused on incorporating characteristics of realism. Realism is the ability of one to relate to experiences of the industrializations of the society. In the story of “Editha” by William Howells a couple realism features are exhibited. Some characteristic examples of realism displayed in “Editha” are the normal daily life of individuals and challenges of ethical decisions. Throughout Howells’ work he exemplifies the ordinary life of a couple who is faced with the possibility of war and the hardships that follow. After a long day of work George returns home to his lady, Editha. As he breaks the news that war has been declared, he sits down depressed about the news. This reaction of despair would…show more content…
Furthermore, George was sickened by the possibility he may have to fight. He stated, “But war! Is it glorious to break the peace of the world?”(1191). This statement declared by George displays how in everyday life one may seek peace not war. The significance of this quote secured George’s true opinion of going to battle. On the other hand, Editha supported and encouraged George to conquer his fear and dismay of war. Editha’s first response to George’s news of war was, “How glorious!”(1190). Her short reply that appeared to be enthusiasm was secretly greed. From here on Editha tried her best to persuade George to choose war to better his worth. For instance, while George was at a meeting for war Editha became very covetous; she gathered old letters, flowers, and her engagement ring with an insert that read, “If we cannot be one in everything we had better be one in nothing.”(1193). This statement from Editha showed she was willing to risk everything to keep him at war. However, Editha only wanted him to go to battle for her own gain. Editha said, “He is nearly perfect as he was, and he must be allowed to perfect…show more content…
Howells shows different instances amongst the characters of “Editha” who display the act of life changing choices. For example, Editha makes the decision to push George into war so she could receive advantage from his achievements. Editha states, “But now, it flashed upon her, if he could do something worthy to have won her.” (1191). Here she is beginning to plot her schemes to force George into war. Little does she think on how the war would affect their lives together. Furthermore, the news came, “in the list of the killed which was telegraphed as a trifling loss on our side, was Gearson’s name.” (1197). This is proof of George’s death to the family and public. The choice Editha made to push George into battle affected not only his life, but also Editha and Mrs. Gearson’s lives. George was affected by losing his own life. Editha was without George and her worth that she so desperately desired. Also Mrs. Gearson had to experience the loss of her son. A great deal of trauma occurred in the lives of Editha and Mrs. Gearson due to the ethical choices

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