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A New England Nun

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Essay title: A New England Nun

Mary Wilkins Freeman was born, raised and spent the majority of her

life in Puritan rural New England. This scene had a huge impact on her

writing. Most of her novels and short stories had the ability to depict that

lifestyle perfectly. One of the best examples of this is her story “A New

England Nun.” (Fiction)

The main characters in this story are Louisa Ellis and Joe Dagget.

Other important characters are Caesar, the dog, and Lily Dyer. Louisa is

described as very dainty, precise, and methodical. She lives alone in her

small house and rarely goes to town. When we first meet her, she is sewing

her wedding dress. When she gets up to make tea, she places her things down

with much care. She puts on a green apron over her pink one. She uses china

everyday when most people in the village don’t even have any. But she

doesn’t hold herself up on a pedestal. She does these rituals not for necessity,

but for pleasure. When she sews, by hand, she likes to sew a seam and rip it

out for the pure gratification of stitching it back up again. She also enjoys

making essential oils form the fruits and flowers in her garden. She does not

do this for money but to have such nice things in her home. She is the essence

peacefulness and calmness. (Literature)

Her exact opposite is Joe Dagget. He has been engaged to be married

to Louisa for the last fourteen years. He has been in Australia making his

fortune to bring back to his bride-to-be. Although we don’t know exactly what

he was doing, we are lead to believe that it is a very masculine, dirty job. He

is the same. He is very rugged and always slightly dusty. Although he has a

rough exterior, on the inside he is a loving, caring, loyal man. It is made clear

from our first encounter of Joe and Louisa. Even if it was uncomfortable and

stiff, he still comes every day. Early on in the story, the author uses the

symbolism of a sweet love wind to describe their feelings towards each other.


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