Editha is a short story that can be explicated in a custom research paper from Paper Masters. Editha research papers can overview the topic, themes, characters or plot of the story by William Dean Howells.
William Dean Howell's short story Editha is a narrative that serves to illustrate the foolishness of not embracing life realistically. Through a juxtaposition of contrasts, Howells utilizes the character of Editha to represent the naivety of romanticism pitted against the following:
- The opposites found between a man and a woman within a relationship;
- Love against the backdrop of death
- The realism of war
What Howells wants the reader to see through his representation of Editha is that those that view the world outside of the constraints of realism and with notions of romanticism will never see the true nature of things such as war and relationships and love. Howells admits this through the ending line, in which Editha, unaffected by the tragedy of death and the horrors of war, states that Editha once again could without reflection or evolution through experience "began to live again in the ideal".
Howells' dedication to the credo of realism and integrity of presenting realistic character development in a narrative begins with Editha as a sentimental young woman with romantic notions of her relationship with her husband, George. She identifies herself as "George's Editha". Furthermore, she cajoles George into serving as the hero for her ideals and he finds himself weakly succumbing to her ideas as he states: "I know you always have the highest ideal. When I differ from you I ought to doubt myself". However, Howell places George as the polar opposite to Editha, one who represents the horrors of war and one who is extremely cowardly towards the notion of "break[ing] the peace of the world".