Analysis Of The Novel ' Summer ' By Edith Wharton

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Is a person’s life premediated or is it choices they make with free will that determines one’s destiny? Women’s choices throughout history, for the most part, have been controlled by the men in their lives. In the novel “Summer,” by Edith Wharton, Charity Royall’s life is dictated by forces beyond her control. She is a young girl of no more than sixteen years old with a world view no larger than the main street in her town. Charity’s lack of choices are determined by where Charity’s came from, her family circumstances, naïveté, and the time period. That ultimately lead to her unfortunate position at the end of the book. Charity grows up with a bitter outlook on where she lives . She was brought down from the mountain by her legal guardian, Mr. Royall. Mr. Royal is a lawyer who is responsible for putting Charity’s drunken father in prison. Mr. Royall literally names her “Charity” as a reminder to her and the rest of the town of what a noble deed he did by rescuing her from unfortunate circumstances. At the beginning of the novel Charity does not know her whole story and neither does her lover, Lucius Harney. She keeps this from him because she knows that other people in the town judge her for her birthplace, and she wants him to have a favorable view of him. Harney is from the big city and a wealthy family. Charity lives with her guardian Mr. Royall, they live a comfortable life, but are by no means wealthy. When Harney comes to North Dormer they the three frequently have dinner together. One night while the the were sitting down to dinner Mr. Royall tells the story about how he had retrieved Charity from the mountain as a favor to the drunk that was Charity’s father. This was out of Charitys control because Mr. Royall is t... ... middle of paper ... ...e, all of the sex that Harney and Charity are having eventually end up with Charity getting pregnant, and Harney is continuing his relationship with Annabelle Balch. Leaving Charity no other option for survival other than marrying Mr. Royall. This is it for Charity her only options at the end of the novel are be a single mother and be more of an outcast, or marry her guardian Mr. Royall. Charity’s circumstance at the end of the novel were determined by forces out of her control. She is adopted and from a small town, limiting her social and financial future. She is a young and pregnant and is forced to marry her father out of necessity. Due to the lack of contraception and safe ways to abort a child she was forced to have Harney’s Child. While women have come a long way since 1917, money and social status still dictates options for women all over the world.

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