Trapped by the Views of Others

1153 Words5 Pages
In the stories of Editha, The Story of An Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper the realism technique of writing is demonstrated by the omission of fixed, idealistic endings of stories that aren’t realistic. The authors incorporate their characters’ lack of freedom and tragic endings in these stories, which in turn leads readers to experience a realistic conclusion as opposed to an idealistic one. Editha written by William Dean Howells, is a short story of a young woman’s naïve views about war and heroic love. Editha foolishly wants her fiancée George, to prove his love for her and believes that going to war would be “the completion of her ideal of him” (p 372). She views love as an act that must be established by a heroic deed as the author states, “if he could do something worthy to have won her—be a hero, her hero—it would be even better than if he had done it before asking her; it would be grander” (p 372). George’s view on war is much different than Editha’s; he knows that war causes much pain and suffering as his own father lost his arm in the Civil War. When Editha cleverly persuades George to enlist, he loses his freedom as he states, “I know you always have the highest idea. When I differ from you, I ought to doubt myself” (p 373). At this point George has given up his liberty to follow his own beliefs, he further states, “There is a sort of fascination in it. I suppose that at the bottom of his heart every man would like at times to have his courage tested; to see how he would act” (p 373). As the story unfolds, George goes off to war only to meet his untimely death during his first skirmish. The ending of this tale is one of realism as opposed to an idealistic one. The ideal ending would have been one in which Georg... ... middle of paper ... ...peration as she finds comfort in the yellow wallpaper. The story ends with the narrator completely going crazy. Her husband unlocks the bedroom door only to find her creeping around in a room full of ripped yellow wallpaper and he faints. The ending of this tale is also one of realism as opposed to an idealistic one. The ideal ending would have been if John would have been wise enough to seek help for his wife as opposed to ignoring her condition due to the fact that he could not acknowledge his inability to help her. In conclusion these stories exhibit three characters’ lack freedom compelled by human nature that one has the right to impose their ideals on others. The tragic endings of these stories demonstrate realistic endings of that time frame. One can only assume that the endings of these stories would be more idealistic in these contemporary times.
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