Ghosts in Afterward by Edith Wharton Essay

Ghosts in Afterward by Edith Wharton Essay

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Most people are very convinced that they will recognize a ghost right away when they see one. The portrayal of ghosts in movies and ghost stories has set initial expectations of ghosts’ appearances and behaviors. However, people do not have the ability to recognize ghosts promptly when they encounter them. After all, as Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert mentioned, ghosts are just dead people that remain in our memories and that we have no choice but to learn to live with their continuing presence (1). If people’s minds are preset on the fact that they are able to identify ghosts immediately, they will miss out on key opportunities to learn about important values in the long term through the presence of ghosts. Since ghosts are dead people, they have lived in the past; they know about history and what values are most important. Therefore, in “Afterward”, Edith Warton deliberately depicts the ghost as something that one does not recognize until long after to prove that dishonesty among family members causes the death of the family relationship.
In the story, ghost is something that one does not recognize until long after. In the beginning of the story, when Edward Boyne asks Alida Stairs whether or not there is a ghost in Lyng, Alida’s response is “Oh, there is one, of course, but you’ll never know it.” (41) Edith Warton tries to prove that the ghost is something that one does not recognize through a conversation between Edward and Alida; Edward’s question is “That there’s a ghost, but that nobody knows it’s a ghost?” (41) and the answer to his question is “Well – not till afterward, at any rate” (41). As for Mary, in her home at Lyng, she is aware that ‘when one did see a ghost at Lyng, one did not know it.’ (44) When Mary is talki...


... middle of paper ...


...in a family – Ned went missing and Mary had to adjust to living alone. This way, Warton urges her readers to be transparent to family members because a stable family is built on an important foundation, which is trust. And with a stable family, they will be able live together happily, knowing that their family members are supporting their backs.



Works Cited

Bell, Vaughan. "Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased." Scientific American Global RSS. N.p.,
2 Dec. 2008. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
.


Cox, Michael and R. A. Gilbert. “Introduction.” The Oxford Book of Ghost Stories. Ed.
Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. ix-xvii.


Wharton, Edith. “Afterward.” The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. Ed. David Stuart
Davies. London: Wordsworth Editions, 2009. 40-67.



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