How I Met My Husband

by Alice Munro

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Evaluate Chris Watters as a potential husband for Edie in How I Met My Husband.

Quick answer:

Yes, Chris Watters seemed to be the better choice for Edie, but only in hindsight. At the time, it was hard to tell which man would have been better for Edie. The answer depends on what one considers important in a husband and father.

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Even with the benefit of hindsight, it seems that Edie still retains a somewhat romanticized image of Chris Watters. She still sees him as a brave and dashing war hero who might just have been good husband material, but we know better, for we can see quite clearly what Edie...

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cannot. Chris's experience of war has taken its toll on his personality, making him permanently restless and incapable of settling down. One doesn't have to be a relationship expert to know that these are not the qualities to look for in a potential husband.

Chris is too much of a wanderer, both physically and spiritually, to ever find any enduring fulfillment in a relationship. He always seems to be searching for something that he'll never quite find. One gets the distinct impression that he needs to work on his own issues before he can even think about forming a relationship. Until he does, he simply isn't cut out to be a reliable husband or father. All things considered, you'd have to say that the mailman was the smart choice.

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I would suggest that Chris Waters lacks the qualities that would make him a good husband for Edie.

The symbol of an airplane is appropriate for Chris Watters.  He's always on the move.  He does not believe in remaining in one place.  In the story, he says to Edie, "I'll tell you a secret.  I won't be around her much longer."  This encapsulates why Chris's potential as a suitor is lacking.  Later on in this exchange, he tells her that "A plane can get further than a car."  Chris is focused on leaving one place and moving onto another.  

This approach to life is in stark contrast to Edie.  Edie is young and embraces the dreams of domestic happiness.   She believes in marriage and settling down with a husband. She embraces the attachment that comes along with marriage.  Chris's desire for freedom makes him unsuitable as a husband for Edie.  When Edie waits each day for the mail between 1:30 and 2:00 in the afternoon, it is in the hopes of receiving a letter, something that Edie later learns was never going to arrive.  Chris's inability to embrace domestic responsibility and the ties that go with emotional commitment reduces his potential as a husband for Edie.  

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