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In William Dean Howells's short story "Editha," the titular character Editha is a woman who has fallen prey to sensationalist war propaganda. As a result, she glorifies and romanticizes war, calling it a "cause so high and noble," and does not fully understand its consequences.

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In William Dean Howells's short story "Editha," the titular character Editha is a woman who has fallen prey to sensationalist war propaganda. As a result, she glorifies and romanticizes war, calling it a "cause so high and noble," and does not fully understand its consequences.

The main conflict of the story is that Editha pushes George Gearson, her fiancé, to enlist and fight in the Spanish-American War. Unlike Editha, George does not believe that war is glorious or a part of God's plan. His father lost an arm in the Civil War and his mother, Mrs. Gearson, has always been very anti-war as a result. However, George eventually does as Editha wishes, and he is killed almost immediately after he is sent off to battle. As she promised to do if anything happened to George, Editha goes to visit his mother. Mrs. Gearson lets Editha know how foolish she was for not thinking of the possibility that George would die, and that she has no sympathy for her.

To make matters worse, it seems that Editha doesn't really change her ways. With one word from another woman that she hardly knows, Editha feels justified and is right back to her blindly patriotic, pro-war ways, beginning to "live again in the ideal."

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