How I Met My Husband

by Alice Munro

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Is Edie a sympathetic character in "How I Met My Husband"? How does her status as "the hired girl" affect your response?

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In the traditional narrative that is offered, it is difficult to not have sympathy for Edie.  She is the hired girl, the one who does not enjoy a great many doors having been opened in life.  She is not from a position of wealth and privilege. The reader feels sympathy for Edie because of the chance that she, too, can find happiness.  In the most reflective of manners, when Edie is able to find happiness, it comforts us that anyone who has been in a position of experiencing closed doors and lost opportunities might also "get a break."  It is in this where Edie is seen as sympathetic.

Another reason why Edie is sympathetic is that she really does not do anything that would incur the wrath of the reader.  Her character is a direct one.  She believes in her hopes and her aspirations, which become illusions.  Yet, Edie does not behave in a cruel or emotionally brutal manner.  She also becomes a sympathetic figure because Edie has realized that happiness and contentment might not exist in elaborate hopes as much as it might exist in front of us in daily life.  The fact that Edie recognizes this in her own life as her narrative concludes helps to make her a more sympathetic character for the reader.

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