Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180
There are really only two characters in this short story: Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield. Mr. Wakefield is an odd man. He is a "constant" husband because his heart is somewhat sluggish and inclined to be satisfied rather than because he feels extreme tenderness for his wife. He is possessed of a "quiet selfishness" and a "peculiar sort of vanity," that even his wife recognizes. He is passively "intellectual" and lacks imagination. After having been married for ten years, he decides, one day, to leave his home for a few days, taking lodging in the next street over, but he ends up staying away for some twenty years, only returning one night because he is cold and wet and sees a warm fire burning in his home's hearth.
Mrs. Wakefield is described as "decent" and "good." After Mr. Wakefield had been absent for a few weeks, she actually seems to have taken ill as a result of her shock and sadness. However, this passes, and she settles into life as a widow, though she remains "chaste" in her husband's long absence.
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