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In Charles W. Chesnutt's story "The wife of his youth," he has integrated various literary device in coming up with this well planned work. Chesnutt has used this story to comment on various issues like elitism, passing, survival, marriage and many more themes that the writer has brought out to the view of the audience. These main elements are vividly portrayed in the story and anyone reading the story can relate to them.
On of the most evident elements that are evident in this story is that of elitism. Elitism is described as the belief that people have on a certain group or individual to have the power to make witty decisions. It may also be the belief in oneself regarding his wisdom being on top of the rest. In this story, the power to make a decision is concentrated in a limited group of people as portrayed in the story. This occurrence is evident when Liza Jane attended the Blue Vein ball (Chesnutt 1). When she came across Mr. Ryder, who apparently was his husband and who Jane never recognized since his disappearance twenty five years ago. Since time had passed after the separation, Mr. Ryder has to confirm with those that had attended the ceremony whether it was right for him to get back to his wife of twenty five. This is a good example of elitism whereby the people act as the main determinants of whether the decision is to be taken or not. Therefore, when Mr. Ryder referred to the group for advice, it mean that he had no say to what they said and he had to follow whatever they commanded him to do. Fortunately or unfortunately, the people made a decision of Mr. Ryder rejoining with his wife, Liza.
Another main theme tat is quite evident in the story is that of passing. The word "passing" means the advance in time. This theme is portrayed in the story "the wife of his youth," when after twenty five years, Mr. Ryder encounters his long time wife, Liza. In this context, the two chose to rejoin despite the many years that had passed. Liza had much faith that despite the passing of time, she would still be able to meet his husband one day and they would rejoin again. Mr. Ryder on the other hand had no plan of finding his wife, Liza and it occurred when he had not planned or had any hopes of finding his long lost wife. However, Mr. Ryder could not assume the fact that time had passed and he was advancing in age. As a result, through the help of the people in attendance in making the final decision, he chose to be re-united with the wife his youth (Chesnutt 3).
Survival is another theme that is very evident in the story "the wife of his youth." Liza is one of the main characters that are used by the author to bring out clearly this theme of survival. Liza carried a photo of his husband wherever she went with the hope that she would one day find him and be reunited. Despite not being sure that she would finally be able to meet her husband, Liza still survived without a husband for twenty five years. Her hopes and dreams were finally paid off by her patience and survival in the pursuit to find her husband.
Destiny is another theme that the author has put across in this book the "wife of his youth," this theme is evident in the reunion of Liza and her husband Mr. Ryder. Even after twenty five years neither Mr. Ryder nor Liza had got married. Mr. Ryder had planned to approach a lady that very day before Liza came along. Destiny is also portrayed when Liza showed Mr. Ryder the photo of the husband she was looking for without the knowledge that Mr. Ryder was the real husband that she had been looking for all those twenty five years. This is a good example of destiny whereby neither Liza nor Mr. Ryder recalled the other's face. However, with the help of the photo, Ryder was able to recognize his appearance more than twenty five years ago. The photo acted as an aid to the revelation of destiny of the couple reuniting.
The themes portrayed in the story are intertwined in such a way that one theme leads to the establishment of the other. For example, the theme of marriage led both Liza and Ryder to survive and remain single for twenty five years. The theme of destiny is also intertwined with that of survival. The reason as to why Liza was able to find his husband was due to her perseverance and tolerance as time passed by. As a result, the passing of time led Liza closer to her destiny of finding her husband at last as the story unfolds. In conclusion, the themes mentioned above would be of little or no significance if they each of them were independent.