Now that I know Wharton wrote many books of short stories, I’d want to read some of them. Just her way with language alone will draw me to her work. Long ago, I trudged through “Valley of Decisions” and could only manage less than half of it. So foreign to the life she described and a little tired of her protracted description of the life of Italian aristocrats without much of a plot or direction, I couldn’t go on. Such was the end of my enthusiasm for her.
Now that I revisit her, I try to steer away from her well known novels, most of which are about women making a profession out of getting themselves married off–really a depressing picture even with the best of the triumphant results. My problem with the plot goes beyond this. Although Wharton wrote most of her popular novels on the theme of marriage, she probably didn’t really believe that marriage is the only road to happiness for women. Well, the plot is just a placeholder and it doesn’t mean much. Why do I care so much about the plot? She can talk about anything, and I would read it. She can talk about sports, and I would still read it. I have no interests in sports and my experiences with sports do not go beyond the compulsory physical education classes I had to take when I was young and the Jeremy Lin basketball matches I watched on TV. I had no interest in basketball and had to sat through those matches with my friends pretending I was thrilled. I did my duty as an Asian and sacrificing my time to watch games I was not interested in was my way of doing my duty, causing no end of jeering from my friends.