April Showers by Edith Wharton
In April Showers by Edith Wharton we have the theme of connection, responsibilities, struggle, identity, loss, determination, disappointment and jealousy. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Wharton may be exploring the theme of connection. Though Theodora has much work to do she remains connected to her family and her book. Leaving no time to get in the way of either. Both bring excitement into Theodora’s life even if she would much prefer to spend her time writing and not be answerable to her siblings. However she knows that as a girl of seventeen she has responsibilities though does fantasize and make efforts to be a published writer. Uncle James also stirs Theodora’s mind when it comes to the author Kathleen Kyd. Theodora admires her and just wants to be like her too. She has freedom to spend her day writing but just as Theodora struggles at the beginning of her writing career so too does Kathleen.
However all Theodora‘s struggle appear to be worthwhile when the Home Circle decide to publish her story or at least that is what she thinks is going to happen. In a cruel; twist of fate Katherine Kyd sent a similarly named novel to the Home Circle for publication and as she was a reliable and well-known writer her story gets published. The scene in nature, when Theodora is reading the acceptance letter, is like going through four seasons in one day for Theodora. She has the happiness of spring and the sadness of winter when she discovers she is not going to be published in the first place. It is a harsh but valuable lesson for Theodora to learn. One in which the reader knows that Theodora will eventually recover from as she is so focused on writing. It helps that her father also tried to once write a novel only to fail but to still carry on gracefully with life. It is as though Theodora has a shoulder to cry upon. A shoulder she did not suspect she could rely on. Wharton possibly using the incident at the railway station as another example of connection in Theodora’s life.
Theodora‘s role in the family may also be symbolic as she takes on the role of a sister and a maid. With her family not showing very much interest in her writing or at least that is what Theodora thinks. Behind the scenes her family know that she is writing a book and that she hopes to get it published one day. This too is significant as it shows that Theodora has aspirations to better herself in the future by doing the one thing that she loves. Regardless of the disappointment she may feel there was a period when Theodora was excited to wait for mail from the Home Circle. This sense of adventure will return when Theodora begins her next novel or set of short stories. She will not be beaten by what has happened to her. She is a writer and she knows she is a writer. The only thing is that she is not yet published, but that will only be a matter of time should Theodora persevere. The most valuable lesson to be taken from the story is that Theodora might be jealous of Kathleen Kyd but she knows she is as good as her.
That is what will drive Theodora to write more stories (and novels). She is determined to be as good as Kathleen Kyd no matter how long it takes. There will be other publications that she can apply to and she now has her father’s arm to compensate any disappointment she may feel. Not everything is on the down side for Theodora. She has found a father who loves and understands her and she has discovered that he too knows what it is like to have a book rejected. When something is usually lost (book publication) something better is usually found (father’s love). It just so happens that Theodora had to learn the hard way that her book was not being published. A lesson she will never forget and one in which she will grow from. Just as Kathleen Kyd may have had to grow from too when she first began writing.