the late 19th Century, William Dean Howells, had paved himself a
path to becoming a national institution. A prolific writer and novelist, he
built a foundation for himself as one of the best American Literature writers
ever known. One of his most known works entitled Editha paints a canvas to
readers portraying a strong female protagonist, whom possesses cunning ways and
whom puts to use mastered manipulative words, to express her wants and to
demand nothing less but the wants she desires. Upon discovering her soldier’s George’s
death; Editha powers her way through her grief-stricken emotions and temporary
illness, to gather herself and rise to resiliency to face the woman George
loved the most: his mother.
Editha was a young woman in love.
She has fallen in love with a young man who will be shipped off to the sacred
war for liberty (309). Upon learning his soon-to-be departure, she insists him
to stay for dinner. She has become quite smitten towards him, and longs for him
to entrust his love to her. She wants no one else but George, even if he in
return does not want her. Edith writes a letter, that is manipulative in all
its ways, demanding his love and depriving herself of any love, even if he was
to share his love with another. Edith states in the text “…if we cannot be one
in everything, we had better be one in nothing.” (310). Editha asks for him to
ponder on those words until he can make a decision to either love her or take
his love somewhere else.
Upon George’s departure to fight for
freedom, he asks Editha in case he should not be returning, of she would see
about his mother. (314) Editha, with arrogance, does not believe that George will
be killed in this war. She sees him off at departure, he his hastily ready to
go. She promises him to go wherever she needs to go, to prove to him that she
is willing to do anything for him, in respect to seeing his mother.
Editha discovers that in fact,
George, will not be returning. She grieves, temporarily, but has a mission to
accomplish. Editha’s character, despite her flaw of being a manipulative
person, is proven when she keeps her promise to George. Editha, still ill from
being grief stricken, pushes herself to get out of bed. She comes to herself
and demands her body to strengthen for her journey to face George’s mother.
Editha and her father, Junius Balcom, take a trip west – for Junius has
business related activity due in Davenport (315). Upon their arrival, Editha is
frank in address towards his mother. Mrs. Gearson is obviously at a loss, for
she has lost her son. She knows that Editha was part of his pressure to enter
the war. She also knows her demanding and sly ways, for she discovered the
letter that Editha wrote to George. Still, knowing all this, she recognizes the
ability to keep her promise to her late son that Editha made, her vow to him. This
outlines Editha’s true character, despite how Ms. Gearson feels about her.
Editha, within herself, knows what she wanted. She completed her mission, rose
to resiliency – and would begin to live, despite her heart taken from her.