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“What A Wonderful Wife” Essay

765 words - 4 pages

This paragraph concludes chapter six of “A Lost Lady” by Willa Cather. Since this paragraph concludes chapter six and it is in the middle of the book it has an increased importance in its role. This role is to demonstrate what Niel is attracted to about Mrs. Forrester just pages before that attraction is taken away from him. This paragraph develops the idea that he is attracted to her because of her love of and loyalty to Mr. Forrester. His attraction to this mainly relates to the theme of the real versus the ideal, where Niel prefers the ideal. This conflict between the real and the ideal primarily relates to Mrs. Forrester’s sexuality and relationship with the past.
The narrator, through Niel’s point of view, states, “From that disparity, he believed, came the subtlest thrill,” when discussing Mrs. Forrester’s conflicting sexualities. These conflicting sexualities follow the theme of one being the ideal sexuality and one being the real. The more real world one is that of her beauty and flirtatious nature. She is able to have any man she wants fall in love with her, which is shown when the narrator states that there were, “young men she kept dangling about her every winter.” This aspect of her sexuality is the one most expected of her because of her apparent beauty and sociability even though, Niel only values it because he believes in the idea that she resists this sexuality. The more ideal sexuality that he believes in is that of her love and loyalty to Mr. Forrester and of her comprehension of his masculinity. The narrator states that, “Given her other charming attributes, her comprehension of a man like the railroad-builder, her loyalty to him, stamped her more than anything else.” This statement contains two pieces of symbolism. First there is the phrase “the railroad-builder,” which sends the image of a strong man laying down railroad tracks and thus symbolizes the idea of masculinity. This idea of Mr. Forrester being masculine is mildly surprising seeing as he is an old and partially crippled man who would not normally seem masculine. Mrs. Forrester though, looks past this outer appearance and finds his true masculinity. The word “stamped” acts as the...

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