Edith Wharton's most consistent concern throughout her writing was the plight
of women of her time who must somehow find a way to create meaningful lives
in a world where their choices, options and movements were so restricted. In her ghost
story, "Afterward," the heroine, Mary Boyne, lives in a golden cage. She has what
looks like a perfect marriage, including uninterrupted intimacy with her husband in a dream house.
Yet she is as much like a child as she is a wife for she knows nothing of his life. Her innocence
fosters her dependence. The price for being dependent is self deception. the theme of the ghost
takes on a larger meaning as we begin to see shadows surface throughout the Boyne's lives.