October 1, 2009
Sense and Non-Sensibility
Realism is summarized as a reaction to a romantic idea with emphasis on emotion, instinct, inventiveness, and the belief that all things are good. Someone who is a realist believes in learning through experience. Romanticism can be summarized as emotional, spiritual…a modern day hippie per say. “Editha” by William Dean Howells and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” by Ambrose Bierce juxtapose a romantic view of war with a realistic view of war. Both short stories romanticize war albeit in two different settings. “Editha” takes place during the Spanish-American war in 1898 and is the story of a young girl who sends her lover to war. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” takes place in Alabama during the Civil War and is the story of a man who learns the hard way.
“Editha” is a story that can easily anger anyone who has ever sent someone they love to war. She is in love with the idea of war and the nobility of war. She takes the reader on a journey into her naive thoughts and silly romantic notions. Editha tells the reader that “She had always supposed that the man who won her would have done something to win her; she did not know what, but something. George Gearson had simply asked for her love, on the way home from a concert, and she gave her love to him without, as it were, thinking. But how it flashed upon her, if he could do something worthy to have won her – be a hero, her hero—it would be even better if he had done it before asking her; it would be grander. Besides, she believed in the war from the beginning” (Howells 372). At the very beginning one can see Editha’s desire for a hero. In her mind she sees a young man fresh from battle surviving only for her. She maybe imagines him riding into town full of war stories and exhausted but falling into her arms while the towns...