Why does Edie describe Chris as a "damaged" person?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Edie describes Chris as "damged" to reflect that there is something underneath his exterior that causes him to be seen as fundamentally different.  Edie is struck by this immediately.  Chris Watters seems to transcend the social milieu that surrounds and envelops the characters in the narrative.  He does not seem to particularly enjoy the social conformity of the world of the Peebles and even the being of his fiancee, Alice.  Chris is "damaged" because of this difference and Edie recognizes it.  In a sense, it is this "damage" that enables both he and Edie to become close to one another.  Edie is on the outside looking in with her role as "the hired girl."  If Chris was not "damaged," he would see her as only that.  Yet, Edie is convinced that there is something existing under this facade, some type of structural fault line that enables him to transcend the socially stratified world and appear "different." Perhaps, the "damage" that he possesses might also be his inability to curtail his own sense of freedom in a conformist setting.  Regardless,  it is for this reason  of perceived "damage" that she becomes so smitten with him, and for this reason that she understands his need to leave and not return.  This damage is what drives her in believing that he will write and, in the process, establish the basis for how Edie ends up meeting her husband.