Weaknesses and Strengths of Women in the Story Souls Belated By Edith Wharton
In the short story Souls Belated by Edith Wharton there various traits arising from the women can be seen as either weaknesses or strengths of the women. The women in the novel strengths can be viewed through the relationships they have (Wharton, 2004). At the start of Souls Belated they all seemed different relationship wise. Lydia, a main character in the short story has a notable strength. That is, the determination of not living by the conventions set by the society to women and through that she refuses to marry Gannett. Through relationships their strength such as explaining themselves and standing for what they believe can be witnessed (Wharton, 2004).
Lady Susan makes up rules as per who should be welcomed to the villa and who should not and this is an act of self independence which is her strength. The other ladies can be viewed to be weak by not standing up to her even if they do not agree with her set rules. When it comes to Mrs. Cope she can be seen turning her weakness of blindly following predetermined society norms to her strength and she decides to get a divorce her husband. It is through relationships that we see the strong personalities the women have (Wharton, 2004). Living by their own set means and rules makes it their strength to. Lydia’s rebellion character acts as her strength. It can be seen through her leaving her marriage and she thinks the marriage is just a show off and goes for a writer who can show her the world and share her thoughts with (Wharton, 2004).
Lydia has a strong mental strength as compared to Mrs. Cope for she faces Gannett and explains to him why she feels the marriage will be just a sham. She is mostly in contact with her inner beliefs and desires thus always following her mind. Through this short story the biggest theme is marriage and its dissolution that the weakness of the women can be seen. Lydia been the outstanding woman character in the story has made a strong clarification on the very idea of marriage (Wharton, 2004). The main weakness seen in this story is through isolation. From the opening scene where Gannett and Lydia are in a train, the feeling of emptiness and sorrow surrounds and eats up the two characters (Wharton, 2004). Through the use of imagery in the short story, all the women in the story feel vulnerable been alone and thus vulnerability is their main weakness.
Wharton, E. (2004). Souls Belated. New York, NY: Kessinger Publishing Ltd.