Secondary Characters In Edith Wharton's 'A Journey'

Decent Essays

Edith Wharton’s short story “A Journey” tells the story of a woman who travels to New York with her husband. During the first half of the story, the narrator describes the relationship between the main character and her husband, even during his sick days and the second half of the story offers insight into the main character’s reactions towards her husband’s sudden death including her interactions with the secondary characters. In “A Journey”, Edith Wharton’s choice to include secondary characters highlights the wife’s selfishness.
Edith Wharton uses a child and a Christian scientist to highlight the contrast between the verbal help of the secondary characters and the woman’s response towards their help. During the beginning of the story, the reader is introduced to a child, who the wife finds to be an annoyance to her husband. But after a while, the child approaches the woman and tries to cheer her up. For example, the child “…offers of candy and picture books failed to dislodge her: she twisted one leg around the other and watched him imperturbably” (Wharton 418). The author uses positive and negative connotations to draw a contrast between the personalities of the wife and the child. While the positive connotation of the words “candy” and “picture books” shows the generous mindset of the child, the negative connotations of the words “failed”, “dislodge”, “twisted”, “watched” and “imperturbably” portrays the wretchedness of the woman’s response to the child. This contrast

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