‘A Wedding-Dress’ by Morley Callaghan

A Wedding-Dress by Morley Callaghan, 1927

The magic trick:

Producing an emotional effect through the change in perspective the reader gets about Lena’s appearance

We’re off on a two-week trip through Canada.

Morley Callaghan starts us in Windsor for this sad tale of Miss Lena Schwartz. Discussion of the magic trick requires a revelation that will spoil the effect.

I will say that the key here lies in perspective, specifically surrounding the way the reader pictures Lena wearing her dress in the store and the way we picture her later in the story.

The change is heartbreaking.

And that’s quite a trick on Callaghan’s part.

The selection:

For fifteen years Miss Lena Schwartz had waited for Sam Hilton to get a good job so they could get married. She lived in a quiet boarding-house on Wellesley Street, the only woman among seven men boarders. The landlady, Mrs. Mary McNab, did not want woman boarders; the house might get a bad reputation in the neighborhood, but Miss Schwartz had been with her a long time. Miss Schwartz was thirty-two, her hair was straight, her nose turned up a little, and she was thin.

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