How would you explain the theme of "How I Met My Husband"?
One theme in the story “How I Met My Husband” is that of class differences. Edie, the narrator of the story, works for Dr. and Mrs. Peebles around their house. She comes from a poor family and is quite surprised at the kind of work she is expected to do at the Peebles’ home. Even her family members laugh when she describes to them her chores at her place of work; how she uses a washer and dryer, how she did not have to heat water or even bake. Edie’s mother is surprised that Mrs. Peebles has to hire a house help, even though she only has two children and does not have a farm to tend to. Also, the Peebles’ home is luxuriously decorated—fluorescent lights and a double sink in the kitchen; pink-colored toilet, basin and tub and a three-way mirror in the bathroom. The Peebles think that Loretta Bird is a country-woman—a term that loosely denotes lower class women. Though also living in the countryside, the Peebles are different from Loretta and other such women as they are town people who have bought a country farm to live in rather than for farming purposes.
Another theme is that of infatuation, and how it differs from real love. At fifteen years of age, Edie finds herself infatuated with Chris Watters. She has never had a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex and does not understand what this kind of relationship entails. This is why she feels uncomfortable when Chris Watters compliments her looks on their first meeting. Also, she waits for Chris and his fiancée to get back home from their ride, so that she can watch them say goodnight to each other. Afterwards, she lies in bed and fantasizes about how she’d do things differently, had she been the one out with Chris that night. She is so naïve that she thinks that intimacy with a man involves just kissing like she and Chris do on the day of his departure. Her naivety is further expressed by her belief in Chris’s pledge to write to her. It is only later, after many days of waiting for Chris’s letter that she realizes that there wouldn’t be any letter from him. She matures into a young woman, knowledgeable about matters of the heart and able to make wiser decisions.
Several themes are present in the story. It develops an "initiation " theme in that Edie, as a fifteen-year-old, goes through an experience that leaves her more grown up and realistic. Through Edie's relationship with Chris Watters, she learns to take control of her own life and not place her happiness into someone else's hands, to be realized or not. Edie refuses to be a woman who waits for a man to rescue her and make her happy.
Another strong theme in the story is that of class distinction. The Pebbles family lives a life far more privileged than Edie's. Dr. Pebbles is a professional man, a veterinarian, whose income allows his family to live in comfort and style. Mrs. Pebbles wears beautiful clothes, and her housework is done by Edie, her hired girl. Desserts are purchased, not made "from scratch," and the family drinks ginger ale and fruit drinks instead of water. She does not drive her own car only because automobiles are in short supply right after World War II, the time of the story. She owns a washer and dryer. Edie's life on the farm was not one of privilege in any way, and the difference does not escape her. Edie wonders why poor people can imagine Mrs. Pebbles' lifestyle, but someone like Mrs. Pebbles could not imagine theirs. The theme of class distinction is further emphasized by the way in which Mrs. Pebbles treats Edie: She never lets Edie forget that she is hired help and not really like Mrs. Pebbles or her family.
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