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I am having a difficult time coming up with a conclusion about "How I Met My...

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trang1975 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:54 AM via web

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I am having a difficult time coming up with a conclusion about "How I Met My Husband."

In my thesis I wrote that author introduces Edie as an inexperienced, jealous but faithful fifteen-year-old who falls in love with a handsome pilot named Chris Watters.

Can you help me come up with the conclusion?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM (Answer #1)

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In Alice Munro's "How I Met My Husband," it may be important to note that the title is purposely misleading. I remember the first time I read this story, and I was sure Edie was going to marry the pilot, but nothing could be further from the truth. Edie is young and falls in love with the pilot who is not only too old for her, but engaged to another woman. We can also question the kind of man Chris Watters is, first for kissing the young Edie: it seems only the "grace of God" that he does not "ravish" the young girl on the spot. Fortunately for her, he stops—splashing water on himself and her to cool them both down. Second, he also misleads Edie into believing that he does not care for his fiancée, Alice, and will write to Edie so she knows where he is. The letter never comes.

The fact that he is a pilot might be symbolic that Edie is trying to reach out for something far beyond who she is, like Icarus flying too close to the sun with wings of wax. Watters is out of her league and dangerous, not only for her reputation but for her hopes for happiness. Realistically, Edie is a "hired girl...who has little education, money, or status." She is also very young and naive.

It is, of course, this naivete that allows Edie to be in the right place at the right time. Day after day, she sits waiting for the letter that will never arrive from Chris Watters. The mailman comes each day to find Edie in the same spot.

"You've got the smile I've been waiting on all day!" he used to holler out the car window.

The process of constantly waiting eventually strikes Edie with a sense of the futility in what she has been doing: she knows now that the letter will not arrive:

Till it came to me one day there were women doing this with their lives, all over. I imagined me making this journey day after day and year after year, and my hair starting to go gray, and I thought, I was never made to go on like that. So I stopped meeting the mail.

When she does so, the mailman, who she has become friendly with, calls her and tells her that he missed seeing her. They date, become engaged and marry. He jokes with their children that Edie "went after him by sitting by the mailbox every day." She does not correct him: thinking that she did so makes him happy.

If I were constructing a conclusion to an essay about this short story, I would probably write:

Edie waits each day for word from the pilot, but soon realizes something about herself: she cannot be a woman who spends her time waiting, but has to be someone who is busy and not holding her breath until life finds her. The truth of Edie's self-awareness comes to her when the mailman asks for a date—she does not wait, but jumps in and accepts the date, the engagement, and the love that grows between them. How she met her husband had nothing to do with flying.


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