Summary Of ' Wives Of The Dead '

Decent Essays
Brianna Veal
11 English Honors 2nd
20 January 2017
?Wives of the Dead? Summary Nathaniel Hawthorne sets the scene of his lesser known short story, ?The Wives of the Dead,? in a Bay Province seaport on a dreary autumnal day. In this short story, the two main characters are Mary and Margaret, two women who were the recent brides of two brothers who had been killed on Atlantic voyages and in Canadian warfare. The women, although they were thankful for the kindness of their sympathetic neighbors, felt that they could only find solace in one another. This is seen when Nathaniel Hawthorne states, ?United, as they had been, by the relationship of the living, and now more closely so by that of the dead, each felt as if whatever
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(Hawthorne 2). This shows the change in atmosphere and perception that had affected not only the sisters, but the house as well. In a startling twist of events, a knock sounds at the door. The reader infers that Margaret hoped it was her husband when Hawthorne writes, ?She arose, placed her foot upon the floor, and slightly arrayed herself, trembling between fear and eagerness as she did so? (Hawthorne 3). When she opens the door, she is rather surprised to see the innkeeper of the town. The innkeeper, also known as Goodman Parker, tells her that her husband is still alive and that he was not killed in war. Margaret, as expected, experiences joy by this turn of events. She immediately turns to tell her sister of this news, but she does not want her own happiness to be dulled by Mary?s grief. Due to the inward keeping of her emotions, her joy leaks into her dreams and causes her happiness as she sleeps.
Later in the night, Mary hears a knock on the door and decides to investigate; however, she investigates for a different reason than Margaret. Hawthorne points this out by saying, ?Fearing that her sister would also be disturbed, Mary wrapped herself in a cloak and hood, took the lamp from the hearth, and hastened to the window? (Hawthorne 4). When she opens the door, her attitude does not change when she sees an old lover of hers known as Stephen. Hawthorne describes Stephen as, ?A young man in a sailor?s
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