In this week’s installment of American Stories, we present “The Line of Least Resistance” by Edith Wharton. The main character, ‘Mister Mindon,’ finds out his wife is having an affair with his business partner. He plans to divorce her, but something makes him change his mind (read the story to find out!)
A common expression is used in the title of the story: “The Line of Least Resistance.” This expression occurs in classic literature. These days, we talk about the path of least resistance. This expression tells us someone is choosing the easiest ‘path’ or choice of action. I think that this title is telling us that Mister Mindon chose the easiest way to deal with his problems.
The American author Henry David Thoreau once said, “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.”
What advice would you give to Mister Mindon?
What should he learn from this experience?
We learn from the story that she likes to give parties, but Mister Mindon doesn’t like parties. She is always the center of attention at her parties, but he is uncomfortable. It seems to me that they don’t have a lot in common, but many marriages succeed even though the husband and wife are very different.
Imagine you’re a friend of one of these characters, Mister Mindon or Millicent Mindon. Write them a heartfelt letter giving them the advice you think they need to make their marriage work. Or maybe you think they should give up on the marriage. Write and let me know!
– Dr. Jill
P.S. I’m not a marriage counselor by any means! So don’t ask me for advice on your marriage…