Alice Munro published “How I Met My Husband” in her book Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You (1974). Told from the first-person point of view, the story layers the voice of the fifteen-year-old Edie, working as a “hired girl” in the house of the comparatively wealthy Peebles family, with that of the adult Edie, now happily married and wiser than she was as a teenager. Edie’s voice is colloquial and friendly, keenly aware of its audience. In this way, the story celebrates the art of storytelling, suggesting that by using memories to tell stories people arrive at a greater understanding of who they are. Storytelling also enables women who live on the margins of society—such as Edie, who has little education, money, or status—to speak when they might otherwise be silenced. And Edie is quite a storyteller; even as a teenager, she has a quick wit and healthy sense of identity even though she also seeks greater fulfillment in life. She thinks it might come in the form of a pilot who lands his airplane in the fairgrounds across from her employers’ house, for whose letter she patiently waits. However, she finally understands that waiting will not give her happiness. She learns that there are women all over “waiting by mailboxes for one letter or another” and determines that she “was never made to go on like that.” By telling her own story and seizing opportunities to make life good for herself, Edie refuses to deceive herself that life is other than what it is, which is something joyful if lived with vitality and honesty.
Did this raise a question for you?