What quote should I use to best analyze a character in "The Wife of His Youth"?

Expert Answers
mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first question you need to ask is which character are you trying to analyze? I will use a quote that I think best summarizes the character of Liza Jane, but first we need a little background on the story.

This is a great short story about what makes a person a good person. Mr. Ryder, a light skinned biracial man, is living up north. The time frame is several years after the civil war. Mr. Ryder heads up the "Blue Vein Society," which is a group of light skinned blacks, trying to make a way into the white world. Mr. Ryder is going to give a ball, where he plans on proposing to Molly Dixon, another light skinned woman. A woman named Liza Jane finds him and asks him if he knows a Mr. Sam Taylor. Sam was her husband 25 years ago. Sam was a free born man who was born before the civil war. He is hired as an apprentice for the owner of Liza Jane. Liza Jane and Sam marry, but when Liza Jane finds out her owner wants to sell Sam, she tells Sam to leave. Sam leaves and she never sees him again. She has searched for the past 25 years for her husband. Mr. Ryder tells her he doesn't know him, but will ask around for him. He invites her to the ball. Liza Jane is a plain looking black woman.

While at the ball, Mr. Ryder tells the story of Liza Jane, and how she has spent all these many years searching for the man she loves.

"Such devotion and confidence are rare among woman. There are many who would have searched a year, some who would have waited five years, a few who might have hoped ten years; but for twenty five years this woman has retained her affection for and her faith in a man she has not seen or heard of in all that time."

This quotes sums up the real character of Liza Jane. She loved her husband so much that she waited for twenty five years for him. She has not lost hope or lost her faith in her husband. We see a glimpse of the character of Mr. Ryder, as well.

"Ladies and gentleman", he said, "this is the woman and I am the man, whose story I have told you. Permit me to introduce to you the wife of my youth."

Mr. Ryder, who is really Sam, could have turned his back on Liza Jane, but instead decided to be the man she believed him to be. He stood up in front of the society and introduced this woman. She had waited for so long for him, and in the end, he did not fail her.

Read the study guide:
The Wife of His Youth

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question