Pomegranate Seed Analysis

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Jealousy, Heartbreak, and Insecurity: Wharton’s Fears as Displayed in Greek Mythology
Wharton’s “Pomegranate Seed” gives insight into her own struggles as a person and a writer. She formed characters based on these struggles and connected them to Greek Mythology through the myth of the abduction of Persephone. She wrote a summary of the myth at the beginning of the story in order to introduce the connection to the reader, although she does not specifically reference that connection in the plot of the story. Wharton’s use of the title “Pomegranate Seed”, as well as the similarities between her characters and those in the referenced myth, show how her own fears, as well as the characters’ fears of being less valuable and desirable than other
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Goluboff, another well-known critic, makes this point when he says “[t]he summary of the Persephone myth that Wharton made for Loring lacks several important details” (Goluboff 219). In the original myth, Persephone had been taken to Hades without her consent. In “Pomegranate Seed,” Wharton implies that it was Kenneth’s choice to go join Elsie; this is shown through Kenneth’s reactions to the letters as he struggled to decide between his two wives. Also, in the Greek myth, the pomegranate seeds are what keep Persephone in Hades, while in the short story, the letters from Elsie convince Kenneth to join Elsie. Wharton even forms a connection between the pomegranate seeds and the letters; she creates a symbol out of it by talking of them as singular objects. In the myth, Persephone eats 6 pomegranate seeds, but in the title, Wharton depicts the seeds as a singular object. In the story, Kenneth receives 9 letters, but Charlotte talks about how in her eyes they had combined into the one thing that drove her to extreme jealousy. Probably the most blatant difference between the two is that Kenneth is the husband who is being tempted by his wife, while in the Greek myth, it is Persephone, a woman, who is brought to the land of the dead. Similarly, Charlotte is Kenneth’s wife, but she…show more content…
She also connects those characters to Greek mythology by ambiguously summarizing the myth of Persephone’s kidnapping at the beginning of the story and choosing a title that creates a symbolic connection between the letters and the pomegranate seeds. Through Charlotte and Kenneth, she symbolizes Zeus and Persephone by showing the conflicting emotions that occur in Persephone and Kenneth. Kenneth’s ambivalent disposition coupled with Charlotte’s jealousy, insecurity, and ignorance of how to best handle those feelings, correspond to Wharton’s personal feelings as well as those of the Greek gods and
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