Jane Austen once wrote that "happiness in marriage is purely a matter of chance." While this antiquated notion of matrimony may not fit with the modern requirement of love in marriage, it's still a truth universally acknowledged (though generally unspoken) in the small town of Selden, Kansas. To understand Selden requires abandoning all previously held beliefs of morality, equality, love, and compassion, and replacing them with the simple fact that all young, single women must surely be in want of a husband.
Disagreeing with this basic value of Selden is a crime paralleled only by voting Democratic or missing church on Sundays. Being guilty of all three unforgivable transgressions is virtually unheard of, save for one young woman.
To be clear, Kate Devlin did not dispute all aspects of this "fairytale" life that many young women in Selden aspire to. Her want of a husband paralleled, if not exceeded, that of other comparable girls in the town. Where she differs, however, is her possession of a quality which is noticeably absent from the debutante balls and bridal showers.
It may seem appalling that self-respect is an unfamiliar attribute to the majority of women here. This is because the one value that surpasses all others is the importance of family; and being true to your family means accepting whatever role that family has assigned to you.
It is apparent, therefore the value of women in this place. Kate accepted this fact, until she was confronted with what it truly meant. When her beau of eight years was exposed as a philanderer, as most men were tolerated to be, she committed another inconceivable act by refusing to forgive him. It was at this decisive moment when she realized her potential as a human being and refused to accept that life anymore.
It took Kate approximately forty-eight seconds after discovering Daniel's betrayal to reject his apology. It was another twelve days, however, before she understood that her meaning in life exceeded all expectations to her family and friends. This epiphany came in the form of a referral to a prestigious internship at a publishing company in Los Angeles, a city that is arguably the exact opposite of Selden. The time it took for Kate to accept the position was incalculable, however, as she was packing the moment the letter touched her fingertips.