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William Dean Howells Editha Character Analysis

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“The air was thick with war feeling, like the electricity of a storm which has not yet burst” (Howells 1491). This quote from William Dean Howells’ Editha represents the atmosphere of America leading up to and during the Spanish-American War. America was split by differing views of imperialism, and ultimately ended up fighting a war for the wrong reasons. An atmosphere of blind patriotism, corrupted by yellow journalism and jingoism, consumed America during the years of the Spanish American War, which can be seen in the characters of William Dean Howells’ Editha. America entered into the Spanish-American War due to the yellow journalism that filled American citizen’s heads with sensational journalism, a prime example of this being Editha…show more content…
This is evident in Editha through the characterization of George and Editha, both representing an opposing view on imperialism. Americans had sympathies for the Cubans, they struggled under Spanish rule. But American sympathy was not the sole reason for America getting involved in the Cuban revolution. American business had about $50 million invested in Cuba and these investments were at risk because of the revolution taking place in Cuba (Kennedy-Cohen 610). The Teller Amendment also proves that America went to war with Spain for the wrong reasons. The Teller Amendment stated that when the Unites States defeated Spain, it would grant Cuba freedom (Kennedy-Cohen 612). This Amendment indebted the Cubans to America and made them dependent on America. Americans wanted this amendment so that Cuba could become the United States’ land. During the time of the Spanish-American War, America was split between pro-imperialists and anti-imperialists. Pro-imperialists wanted to expand America because of trade, social Darwinism, and the White Man’s Burden. The Spanish-American War was heavily supported by pro-imperialists looking to expand America’s power. Anti-imperialists believed in their cause because they thought it was a violation of self-determination, too expensive, and would get America too involved foreign affairs. Support for the Spanish-American War was not seen from many anti-imperialists. These opposing viewpoints on imperialism are seen in Editha through the characterization of Editha and George. Editha supports the Spanish-American War and represents the pro-imperialist view. George does not support the Spanish-American War and represents the anti-imperialist view. Editha is happy about the war and tells George that it is glorious, George responds to her, “But war[!] Is it glorious to
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