Essay Free Gail Godwin Sorrowful Woman

Essay A Sorrowful Woman

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A Sorrowful Woman The story that is A Sorrowful Woman seems to be a story told from the point of view of a narrator who focuses only slightly on the inner conflict of one of the main charters in the story. The character of which I am speaking is never referred to by name, instead is called she, the woman, mommy, and wife throughout the entire story which lends credence to the conclusion of the viewpoint as being told from the outside. The first indication that the focus of the story will be not of a warm and loving nature is the line “The sight of them made her so sad and sick she did not want to see them again”(1). This is where a hypothesis can begin to be formed as to who the antagonist of the story is, bearing the statement above in…show more content…

Then in the next line there is no mention of the woman speaking to the child or acknowledging that the child ever spoke to her. The purposeful shunning of the child by the woman is appalling and baffling at the same time. The child in the story is an innocent, wanting to please and gain acknowledgement and love from the very woman that is sickened by the very sight of the child. The mysterious reasons for the shunning of the child can be guessed at in committee, but without more history as to reasoning: the idea of the woman seeing the child as the one reason for her illness is the most conclusive idea to be had. A supporting clause for the woman being ever more resentful of the child is the description given when during the course of play, the woman is scratched enough to draw a small bead or two of blood, “One of his sharp little claws ripped her flesh, just above the wrist… a thin red line materialized on the inside of her pale arm and spill over with tiny beads”(6). The reaction to this was not to grimace and clean her arm or to take time to trim the child’s finger nails to prevent such from happening again. Instead the woman says clearly “Go away” (6). Then lock herself away from the child. No explanation or reason given to the child but to ignore and satisfy vengeance towards what the woman views as something that

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The story is told in the form of an ironic fable. It begins with the simple fairy-tale opening: “Once upon a time there was a wife and mother one too many times.” This opening introduces both the tone and the theme of the story. The fablelike tone is maintained in the author’s terse style. The sentences are short and simple, and the overall tone is matter-of-fact and objective, adding to the irony of the situation. The nameless characters take on a universal or fablelike quality, and the immediate time and locale of the story are undisclosed. The understanding and self-sacrificing husband is “durable, receptive and gentle,” a fairy-tale prince who is unable to save his wife. The child is a “tender and golden three,” almost angelic. Even the young girl who is hired to take care of the child is described as perfect. The characters have an unreal quality as though they represent types, not real people. They set up the model of a perfect family, a model that the woman cannot accept.

The woman, who is suffering from depression, is described as a “cloistered queen” or a “young virgin in a tower.” These fairy-tale images are also symbols of entrapment, for the virgin in the tower is often imprisoned, powerless, and waiting to be rescued. Other images of doom appear in the story. The woman focuses on the child’s gray eyes and the husband’s gray shirt. The playful child turns into a tiger whose “sharp little claws” rip the woman’s...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

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