The Wives of the Dead Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Wives of the Dead.
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Loss

Hawthorne's story illustrates how a person's response to death and loss reveals true character. Both women mourn the loss of their husbands. However, Mary's "mild, quiet, yet not feeble character" and her faith enable her to endure the emotional torment of her husband's death with more equanimity than Margaret. She prepares a meal and sets the table soon after the mourners leave, and tries to help her sister-in-law calm down. Margaret, on the other hand, of a "lively and irritable temperament," cannot accept the loss and remains bitter, dwelling on the past and taking no comfort in her faith. Later, Mary drifts into sleep with relative ease, while Margaret stays awake "groan[ing] in bitterness." The motivation of each in not waking the other after hearing their respective news reflects their characters. Margaret is more worried about how Mary's response would diminish her own joy, saying to herself...

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This section contains 460 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Wives of the Dead Study Guide
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The Wives of the Dead from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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