Bythe late 19th Century, William Dean Howells, had paved himself apath to becoming a national institution. A prolific writer and novelist, hebuilt a foundation for himself as one of the best American Literature writersever known. One of his most known works entitled Editha paints a canvas toreaders portraying a strong female protagonist, whom possesses cunning ways andwhom puts to use mastered manipulative words, to express her wants and todemand nothing less but the wants she desires. Upon discovering her soldier’s George’sdeath; Editha powers her way through her grief-stricken emotions and temporaryillness, to gather herself and rise to resiliency to face the woman Georgeloved 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 sacredwar for liberty (309).
Upon learning his soon-to-be departure, she insists himto stay for dinner. She has become quite smitten towards him, and longs for himto entrust his love to her. She wants no one else but George, even if he inreturn does not want her.
Edith writes a letter, that is manipulative in allits ways, demanding his love and depriving herself of any love, even if he wasto share his love with another. Edith states in the text “…if we cannot be onein everything, we had better be one in nothing.” (310). Editha asks for him toponder on those words until he can make a decision to either love her or takehis love somewhere else. Upon George’s departure to fight forfreedom, he asks Editha in case he should not be returning, of she would seeabout his mother. (314) Editha, with arrogance, does not believe that George willbe killed in this war. She sees him off at departure, he his hastily ready togo. She promises him to go wherever she needs to go, to prove to him that sheis 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 toaccomplish. Editha’s character, despite her flaw of being a manipulativeperson, is proven when she keeps her promise to George. Editha, still ill frombeing grief stricken, pushes herself to get out of bed. She comes to herselfand 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 hasbusiness related activity due in Davenport (315).
Upon their arrival, Editha isfrank in address towards his mother. Mrs. Gearson is obviously at a loss, forshe has lost her son. She knows that Editha was part of his pressure to enterthe war. She also knows her demanding and sly ways, for she discovered theletter that Editha wrote to George. Still, knowing all this, she recognizes theability to keep her promise to her late son that Editha made, her vow to him.
Thisoutlines Editha’s true character, despite how Ms. Gearson feels about her.Editha, within herself, knows what she wanted. She completed her mission, roseto resiliency – and would begin to live, despite her heart taken from her.