Posted in Short Stories

Edith Wharton: The Journey

Deal Me In – Week 32

5♠  5♠  5♠  5♠  5♠  5♠  5♠  5♠

I’ve read a handful of short stories by Edith Wharton.  While her writing style is quite impressive, I’ve not been exactly taken by these stories, overall. But this week, for my Deal Me In 2015 short story project, I selected the Five of Spades which corresponds to Wharton’s “The Journey”.  At least for now, this will be the Edith Wharton story I recommend.

The unnamed female protagonist is traveling by train with her husband.  The majority of the story encompasses the efforts of the wife to keep her husband’s secret from the rest of the travellers.  The secret is known to the reader who also gets a brief glimpse into the the couple’s marriage:

When she married, she had such arrears of living to make up: her days had been as bare as the white washed schoolroom where she forced innutritious facts upon reluctant children.  His coming had broken in on the slumber of circumstances, widening the present till it became the encloser of remotest chances.  But imperceptibly the horizon narrowed.  Life had a grudge against her: she was never to be allowed to spread her wings.

A definite darkness exists to the story; however, I went back and forth as I read in determining whether there was some humor buried deep beneath the dark.  I still can’t help but think there is.

I can’t post about Edith Wharton without including the above photograph. My Deal Me In 2015 list can be seen here. Deal Me In 2015 is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.  This story is included in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates.

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