In Summer by Edith Wharton, I believe that the death of Mary Hyatt shines a light into the type of mother that Charity is going to be. When seeing her mother’s dead body for the first time, an almost motherly instinct kicks in, and Charity begins making the body of her mother look more presentable. Wharton writes, “Charity, trembling and sick, knelt beside him, and tried to compose her mother’s body. She drew the stocking over the dreadful glistening leg, and pulled the skirt down to the battered upturned boots” (227). This passage shows that even though Charity has no idea who her mother really was, she still has some sort of instinct that drives her to take care of Mary Wyatt. This is important because she won’t really know her child fully before it is born, but she will have to take care of her child from the minute that she meets it.
I also have a feeling that Mary Wyatt inspires Charity to be the best mother that she can be. I say this because of the loneliness and separation that Charity feels while traveling to see her mother. As stated by Wharton, “The sense of unescapable isolation was all she could feel for the moment.” Through thoughts like this, we can see how rough it is on Charity to not have known her mother for her whole life. Had her mother not left her, it can be speculated that she wouldn’t have had to make this grim trip, but instead, could have had a much deeper relationship with her mother, and had led a much different life. Mary Wyatt’s death causes Charity to really become the mother that she never had.