Analysis of Gail Godwin's A Sorrowful Woman

Length: 565 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

Analysis of Gail Godwin's A Sorrowful Woman


Gail Godwin's short story "A Sorrowful Woman" revolves around a wife and mother who becomes overwhelmed with her husband and child and withdraws from them, gradually shutting them completely out of her life. Unsatisfied with her role as dutiful mother and wife, she tries on other roles, but finds that none of them satisfy her either. She is accustomed to a specific role, and has a difficult time coping when a more extensive array of choices is presented to her. This is made clear in this section of the story.


As a housewife and a mother, Godwin's protagonist leads a fairly structured life. Her activities are mostly confined to caring for her husband and child and caring for their home. Though she is obviously unsatisfied with this, as shown by her attempts to discard this role, she is not comfortable without such a structure. Even when she has moved into the white room, she develops a routine of brushing her hair in the sun each day. When she decides to write a poem, she shies away from the project once she realizes how many options are open to her; the idea of so much freedom seems to distress her. Even when she thinks that "her poem could be six, eight, ten, thirteen lines, it could be any number of lines, and it did not even have to rhyme," the words themselves are rushed, the pacing of the sentence communicating her nervousness and discomfort.


Her dissatisfaction with her role in life also leads Godwin's protagonist to try on other roles. Though she tries on many, none of these seem to satisfy her either; she "tried these personalities on like costumes, then discarded them." Her inability to find any role that actually satisfies her probably contributes to her general sense of helplessness and continued withdrawal from her family and, indeed, the rest of the world. Since she cannot find any particular role that suits her, she attempts not to have any role at all; the coldness and isolation of the undecorated white room make it seem that she is trying to empty herself of her previous life.


Her withdrawal from the world is also presented in this passage. She chooses to move into the white room, now no longer decorated by the previous inhabitant. White can be a very cold, sterile color, and it serves to illustrate her lack of attachment to the room or to her own home. She describes the view of the streets as an outsider, watching but not participating. She pictures herself as a virgin in a tower, untouchable and profoundly isolated. She has not only isolated herself physically, but also emotionally; she allows herself no personal attachment to the world, no personal relationship with anything in it. She makes herself an outsider, looking in on the world.


Godwin's "A Sorrowful Woman" illustrates throughout the manner in which a woman slowly withdraws from her husband and son, her home, and the world. This passage also illustrates this process; it gives a reader her sense of detachment from the world at large, her inability to deal with too many choices, and her dissatisfaction with the role she has played in life. It effectively captures the feelings that run throughout the story, and, when examined, presents insight into Godwin's protagonist.




How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Analysis of Gail Godwin's A Sorrowful Woman." 09 Dec 2016

Related Searches

Important Note: If you'd like to save a copy of the paper on your computer, you can COPY and PASTE it into your word processor. Please, follow these steps to do that in Windows:

1. Select the text of the paper with the mouse and press Ctrl+C.
2. Open your word processor and press Ctrl+V.

Company's Liability (the "Web Site") is produced by the "Company". The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws. The Company makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results to be obtained from using the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Material is entirely at your own risk. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Materials are provided on an as-is basis without warranty express or implied. The Company and its suppliers and affiliates disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

For a complete statement of the Terms of Service, please see our website. By obtaining these materials you agree to abide by the terms herein, by our Terms of Service as posted on the website and any and all alterations, revisions and amendments thereto.

Return to