The Wife Of His Youth

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Social Status or Love: Which is More Important? In Charles Chestnutt's "The Wife of His Youth," Mr. Ryder is forced to make a decision about two women that he loves. As a member of the Blue Veins Society, Mr. Ryder has a very high social status in his community and the people look up to him. Liza Jane, an old slave is determined to find her old husband who is Mr. Ryder. Unaware that she has found her husband and that he has found someone else, Liza Jane causes Mr. Ryder to loose his pride in order to rekindle the love from his youth.

Mr. Ryder's qualities express his sincere appreciation of the Blue Vein Society, which is why he is the adviser and head. The purpose of the Society is to maintain correct social standards and to strengthen their community. Not everybody meets the qualifications of the society because one must be light skinned in order to join.

Therefore the members feel as if it is only possible to succeed if you are light skinned because you are more white. They feel as though dark skinned people are not intelligent and that they will not succeed in life. Mr. Ryder is not as light as the other members, however his high morals, good manners, and sense of style helped him to achieve respect from his community. Automatically becoming a member of this group one gains a lot of pride that sometimes has to be put aside when making life-altering decisions.

Mrs. Dixon is the other woman in Mr. Ryder's life. She is young, beautiful, intelligent, and possesses all of the qualities a husband could want. Furthermore, she is member of the Blue Vein Society making Mr. Ryder like her even more because she would fit...