"A New England Nun" by Mary E. Wilkins.

Essay by szsoomroCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2006

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The place and the role played by a woman in a society has always been an issue of national debate. The term "Feminism" is mostly used in reference to the movement for the empowerment of women in the society. It is based on the concept of equal rights in all areas of life including the political and economic fields. Feminism preaches same rights for women as granted to men. This definition means a simple recognition of equal rights for some women whereas for some women it goes to the extreme end of women empowerment. Most modern day women are now of the opinion that woman's rights should no longer be talked about and taken as a separate issue because women rights not different from human rights.

Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman lived from 1852 to 1930. She gained prominence as feminist writer. The short story "A New England Nun" is a good example of her feministic approach to writing.

The central character of the story is Louisa Ellis, a woman who chooses to become a spinster instead of getting married, as was the norm of the women in that period of time. An impending marriage was unconsciously making her apprehensive and nervous. Louisa Ellis maintained a neat and beautiful home.

"Louisa had almost the enthusiasm of an artist over the mere order and cleanliness of her solitary home. She had throbs of genuine triumph at the sight of the windowpanes which she had polished until they shone like jewels." (9)

Therefore the idea of adjusting to having a man's presence around was disturbing for her.

"She had visions, so startling that she half repudiated them as indelicate, of coarse masculine belongings strewn about in endless litter; of dust and disorder arising necessarily from a coarse masculine presence in the midst of...