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Analysis Of Edith Wharton's Confession

Decent Essays
In some ways, we can use literature to view a glimpse of the past. Not only does literature often times reflect historical events, writing can also paint a picture of the culture and social norms during a specific time period. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Buffalo, Milton C. Albrecht, stated in his article that, “Like other arts, literature has in the past been assumed to reflect cultural norms and values, the ethos and the stresses of a society, the process of dialect materialism, and the historical development of a society or culture” (Albrecht 177). In the case of Edith Wharton’s short story, “Confession”, there was both an influence from historical events and societal norms. Throughout the short story, there were three obvious influences from the time period. The story is loosely based on a historically famous murder trial that captivated the nation for years. Despite Wharton’s use of historical context throughout the story, she managed to transfer the reader to the time period the story was written through her reflection of societal gender roles and financial stability during the early 1900s.
“Confession” used a historical phenomenon to form a background for the life of the main character, Mrs. Ingram, who was a fictional representation of the historical figure known as Lizzie Borden. In the summer of 1892, Lizzie Borden was suspected of killing her father and step-mother in their Massachusetts home. After a long and heated trial,
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