William Dean Howell’s Editha is often seen as a prime example of American Realism. The novel tells the story of Editha, a young woman who becomes caught up in the patriotic fervor of the American Civil War. Editha is eager to see her country go to war, and she encourages her fiancé George to enlist.
However, Editha is soon forced to confront the brutal realities of war when George is killed in battle. The novel does not shy away from the violence and death of war, and Editha must grapple with her own role in causing George’s death. In the end, Editha comes to realize that war is not romantic or heroic, but instead it is a tragic and brutal reality.
Howell’s novel is notable for its realistic portrayal of war, and Editha’s journey from naive patriotism to disillusionment is a key example of this realism. The novel provides a sobering look at the cost of war, and it serves as an important reminder of the human costs of conflict.
William Dean Howells’ views on romanticism are evident in his novel “Editha.” Editha is used as a symbol for his thoughts on the topic, and when George says there’s going to be a war, she surprises both him and the readers by touting how “glorious” it will be. She continues to romanticize the war effort by calling it glorious because it has potential to liberate those who have been abused for long periods of time.
Editha’s view of war is “mixed with a certain tenderness for the young men who were to fight it out.” Editha represents the type of person who Howells is writing to in his essay, “A Hazard of New Fortunes.” Editha’s views on romanticism are not shared by Howells. In his opinion, “the genuine romances are those which present us life under aspects that challenge and surprise us, and lead us to an enlarged conception of it.”
He goes on to say that we do not need “the machinery of marvels” in order to create romance. Howells’ idea of realism is having characters that act and think like real people. Editha does not think like a real person because she is too caught up in her romantic notions to see the reality of war.
It’s difficult to determine whether Editha truly loves George or if she is overwhelmed by the idea of having a hero to adore. One of Editha’s ways of viewing life is to believe that in order to obtain nice things, one must first demonstrate his or her worthiness for it. When she thinks about George, she says, “George had simply requested for her love… and she offered him hers… but if he could do anything great enough to deserve her love, it would be grand.”
Editha is also very idealistic, she wants what she wants and she want it now. When Editha finds out that George has enlisted in the war, she’s not content with him just going, “he must be a captain at least.” Editha also tries to tell herself that he would make a great captain because he’s tall and has broad shoulders.
Editha doesn’t seem to think about the logistics of war, like how dangerous it is or how many people die. Editha is content with having George go off to war and potentially die because in her mind it would make for a great love story. In Edithas case, her naivete led to disastrous consequences.
Howells uses Realism to Editha’s character to contrast the other characters in the story. Editha represents the youth of America who were starry eyed and idealistic, while the other characters are more weary and realistic about war. The novel is an anti-war story, and Edithas character helps drive that point home.
Editha is based off of a real person that William Dean Howell knew. He writes Editha as a flat character, which is typical of Realism. A round character is more three dimensional and has different sides to them, while a flat character is one dimensional and does not change throughout the story. Editha does not change her views on war, love, or anything else throughout the novel which makes her a flat character.
Editha is also self-centered, which is another trait of Realism. She’s not necessarily a bad person, but she’s very wrapped up in her own world. Editha doesn’t seem to think about how George joining the war will affect his family or friends, she’s only thinking about herself and what she wants.
By being the one to organize Company A’s campaign and proving his devotion to Editha by doing something he was not keen on for her sake, and allowing himself to be named company commander just for her amusement. When she writes George a farewell letter stating why she is breaking off their engagement because the man she marries “must love his country first,” her real feelings for him come out.
Editha is a young, beautiful, and naive woman who is content with her life until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Editha believes that war is romantic and glorious, and she urges her fiancé, George Gearson, to enlist.
When George returns from war, he is a changed man. He has seen the brutal reality of war and no longer shares Editha’s view that it is something to be celebrated. Editha is shocked by George’s change in attitude and breaks off their engagement.
Howells uses Editha to demonstrate the difference between idealism and realism. Editha represents the idealistic view of war, while George represents the realistic view. Howells shows that Editha’s idealism is naïve and ultimately harmful, while George’s realism is difficult but ultimately truthful.
Editha wrote the letter as soon as he departed, it is extremely unjust and she understands it yet still writes it to satisfy herself. Even before he enlisted, she understood that he was not for her but for her. After enlisting, Editha noticed that he became a different person: “He made her feel as if she had lost her old lover and found a stranger in his place,” if she truly loved him, she would not have been thrilled at the prospect of kissing a stranger after losing her true love.
Editha is very selfish, insulting, and heartless. William Dean Howell’s Editha is a novel about the horrors of war and how it changes people. Editha is a young woman who is in love with George, a man who enlists in the army to fight in the Spanish-American War. Editha is very pleased when George enlists, as she sees it as an opportunity for him to prove his manhood.
However, as the novel progresses, Editha begins to see the realities of war and how it affects those who fight in it. Editha comes to realize that war is not romantic or glamorous, but instead is brutal and horrific. She also realizes that her own selfishness has led her to causing George pain and suffering. In the end, Editha is forced to confront the reality of war and its effects on those who fight in it.
Howell uses Editha to show the realities of war and how it affects those who fight in it. Editha is a selfish character who only cares about her own needs and wants. She is willing to sacrifice George’s happiness for her own gain. Howell uses Editha to show how war can change people and how it can cause them to suffer. Editha is a prime example of how war can cause people to change for the worse.