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“Peach Wine and Moonlight” by James Weldon Johnson

Affirmative actions have enabled women to use their skills to change their societies and replace barbaric practices with respect for human rights. James W. Johnson managed to express different viewpoints regarding women and war in his story. This author had vast experience in managing political conflicts, civil strife, and segregation in America. This discussion analyzes the short story mentioned above and how it portrays the struggles women experienced when their husbands left for war and died there while others came back but adopted a different lifestyle.

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The author portrays the position of women in the 21st century and shows how they struggled to make ends meet without their husbands. Eulah Tippins got married, and her husband left her after only three months of marriage and went to fight in the First World War. She was 17 years old and knew nothing about marriage, life, childbearing, or survival without a breadwinner. She is a perfect example of women whose husbands left them and joined troops fighting in the First World War. These women and their families experienced a lot of challenges that either broke their spirits or made them stronger than they were before marriage.

Eulah thought that marriage meant being together for life and that nothing would take her husband away from her. However, she never knew that wars cause physical and emotional separation between men and their families. She was shocked when Carter’s letters became few then stopped coming, and when he retired from the war he was not the same man she married in 1917. She noticed his distant looks and wild imaginations that proved how the war had affected his emotions and mind. Carter had changed, and the war had devastated his self-esteem and trampled on his soul, and made him have a different perspective about his wife Eulah and daughter Ellie. They seemed to him like strangers and his wife could not understand what was going wrong. Eulah was left lonely and thought nobody cared about her, not even her husband or mother could encourage her to find a reason to live.

The author believed that most states failed to offer post-war guidance and counseling for people that had been affected by the events of the First World War. Carter was recruited to fight in the war at the tender age of 18 years, and after spending two years on the battlefield, he was not counseled how to cope with the aftermath of the conflict. He did not know how to blend, and bond with his wife and child yet they expected a happy reunion when he came back from the war. The author explains, “When he came back, he didn’t touch her for months after that first hug at the train station. Sometimes he sat on the porch all night then went to work at daybreak.” This means that Eulah felt lonelier when her husband came back than when he was in the war.

There is no difference between Eulah’s life and that of other women whose husbands died in the war. Carter died in a road accident while on a driving test; however, it is likely that his death was caused by post-war stress. He left his wife to struggle to provide for the family and this forced her to risk her freedom by selling prohibited wine. Eulah knew that it was illegal to sell wine in Grove Springs, but she had no survival options. Her courage challenged the authorities (Sheriff Moody and Jim Hadley) and made them realize that it was better for something to be illegal and right than legal and wrong. She is a perfect example of how determination and hard work defy all odds and make people stronger than their traditions and fate.

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