Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's A New England Nun: Louisa's Choices

Topics: Personal life, Marriage, Canary Pages: 2 (800 words) Published: November 23, 2013

At the introduction of Joe Dagget in the story, Louisa’s little yellow canary suddenly begins flapping its wings violently against the wire cage. Does the canary have a feeling that Joe is capable of bringing a change to our feathered friend’s pleasant life? Is the canary a symbol of the feelings that Louisa herself is harboring within about Joe’s return (205, 7)? Freeman mentions that when Joe enters he seems to fill up the entire room. It seems to Louisa that she fears a disruption in her delicate lifestyle. In many ways Louisa seems like she herself is a canary locked in a cage, but she has locked herself in waiting for Joe’s return. While waiting for Joe, however, she has grown comfortable in her lonely life.

Louisa and Joe begin talking about Lily Dyer’s taking such great care of his mother while he was away, then embarrassed he begins looking through the magazines on her table. However, when he put the album on top of the gift-book it bothered Louisa so much that she had to change their position. What difference did it make which book was on top? Were the books significant to Louisa’s life (206, M-B)? Apparently, Louisa had grown accustomed to her perfectly organized life. She was not used to the delicate balance of her things being disturbed. It also seems that she was not used to having guests. The organization of not only the books on the table, but of her entire house is a symbol of the life she has created for herself while Joe was away. She has not had to care for anyone except for her pets, and has grown quite comfortable living a peaceful little life.

Joe had made a promise to Louisa to marry her after he returned from fortune seeking and that is exactly what he intends to do. Louisa, however, has almost forgotten about the idea of marriage having grown so comfortable with her daily routines. She fears the idea of leaving her house to live with Joe. Why is she so afraid to leave her little house? Why isn’t she happy to have...
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