How I Met My Husband

by Alice Munro

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Where can social commentary be found in "How I Met My Husband"?

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Social commentary about class is woven throughout this short story. Edie, who tells the story, is from a lower-class farm background and marvels at the differences between her life working as a housekeeper and babysitter for the Peebles and her life at home.

The Peebles have moved to a country farmhouse after World War II without any interest in farming, a new trend that Edie finds odd. She is impressed with the many luxuries that the Peebles have in their home: a modern pink bathroom where she can take a bath every week, a modern kitchen with indoor running water and ice cubes in the freezer, and a modern washer and dryer. All of this makes Edie's life very easy; what the Peebles take for granted is wealth to her.

While Edie is quite clearly "downstairs" (the servant class) in this story, she understands the social nuances of the farm community in ways the Peebles don't, knowing for instance that Loretta Bird is trash and not a typical farm wife. She also knows that a real farm family would eat pies, not try to stay slim on fruit for after-dinner dessert as the Peebles do.

Class comes into play again when Edie develops a crush on Chris Watters, the pilot. He and his fiancée, a nurse, are above her in social class, but for a time Edie thinks she can soar to Chris's level and that he will write to her as he promised.

In the end, Edie marries someone from her own community and class. We see in the story that the social classes are distinct and characterized by upper-class people having easier and more luxurious lives. Edie can enter the Peebles' home as a servant but she can never rise out of her social class, and in the end she is content with that.

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