A Journey Summary

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“A Journey” is a short story written by Edith Wharton in 1899 as part of her collection of short stories called “The Greater Inclination.” This short story is about a wife and husband traveling from Colorado to New York. They travel in turmoil, due to the husband being very sick. He consequently dies, leaving the wife to reach New York on her own, while at the same time, covering up the death of her husband so she does not get booted off the train. While on the train, the wife has several encounters with the porter and passengers, in which she begins to falter and hesitate when talking to them. In “A Journey,” Edith Wharton’s use of tone and imagery revolving around the wife, conveys the negative impact the death of a husband has on a woman to interact with others in a calm manner.
One person the wife struggles to interact with in a calm manner is the porter because through the tone and imagery revolving around the wife when talking to the porter, it shows how the porter’s presence causes her to struggle defending herself. The first contact between the wife and porter occurs when the porter begins checking up on the passengers to see if they needed any help. He ends up startling her. The wife then looks at the porter helplessly, while his smile almost corrupts her speech. The porter starts by saying, “Are you very tired?” followed by the wife replying, “No, not very.” The porter then says, “We’ll be there soon now.” The wife responds with “Yes, very soon.” (Wharton 418).
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