The Trophy Husband
The Trophy Husband
Editha meets her fiance under rather boring and lackluster circumstances. She is seeking her knight in shining armor. She wants to experience the high of being in love. Upon meeting there was no magic or electricity in the air. Her fiance, George Gearson was simply a male friend and in a moment that she could not take back, she had accepted his proposal of marriage. This woman, not satisfied with this relationship chooses to change it. Editha sets into motion a plan of action. This story by W.D. Howells illustrates the brainwashing techniques of an idealistic woman in her quest for the "trophy husband".
Throughout history men have lived and died for their religious beliefs. Wars have been and won and battles have been lost in the name of higher deities. Both men and women have taken up the sword in the name of a higher power. Specifically, in our country, the first English settlers sought to convert the heathen Indians and many Indians died in the process. From the Crusades to the recent tragedy in New York, strong and charismatic leaders have taken men and filled them with religious fervor. Editha attempts to convince George that recent events, a war has been declared, are part of God's master plan. Editha assumes the role of the charismatic religious leader in her attempt to sway George. George has an antiwar mentality and Editha seeks to change this by bringing into question his loyalty to God.
Editha continues to use her powers of persuasion. Editha tries to approach his manhood. She knows that a man will fight for what he believes in and if he will not fight for God then she is going to convince him to fight by appealing to his sense of patriotism. She tells George that the war has united the country. This war was being fought to free others from oppression just as this country once suffered from oppression at the hands of a faraway nation. She states that if a man loves his country then there is only one thing to do. It was his duty to fight for his country.
Editha threatens George by bringing the status of their engagement into question. Before their discussion, Editha is very passionate towards George and she speaks to him in deep, throaty, sexy voice, "and uttered from deep in her throat, "How glorious!"" (258). George's charm with Editha comes from her not being able to predict what he is thinking, but she is getting bored with his expected antiwar sentimentality. Then came the huge argument and Editha is used to getting her way. George knows that Editha will not be with a man who does not see things as she does.
Editha sets a plan in motion. She brings into question a man's loyalty to his God, his country, and puts the relationship with the woman he loves in danger. She does all this because she wants George to sign up for the war. Editha implies all these points and she does succeed. This would allow Editha to have a conversation piece to impress her friends. He would be something to talk about at her luncheons and dinners. A confrontation was taking place in a land far away and Editha became excited about the thought of having a hero for her lifelong partner. In the end, Editha was responsible for two things. A man was killed in a war he did not believe in. A grieving mother was left without a son. Editha did not obtain her "perfect husband"
Howells, W.D. "Editha". The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Fifth Ed.
Vol.2. Nina Baym editor.