By Mary E. Wilkins
The allegory of "A New England Nun" is rather obvious yet discreet. The reader would not notice it unless her or she were to critically analyze the existence of the animals. These animals have similar points and are in similar situations as the main character, Louisa Ellis. The dog, Caesar, and the little yellow canery are symbolic forms of Louisa Ellis.
In this story, Louisa Ellis waits for a man for 14 years to marry her. Like Caesar, who holds the guilt of biting a man, Louisa holds the guilt of having Joe Daggat as her first lover. In these 14 years, she is stuck in a spotlessly clean house with two animals: a dog and a bird; her house becomes an immediate prison as she waits for a man for 14 years. Like Louisa, the dog and bird are both chained up or locked up.
However, she is satisfied with her life of solitude. When her fiancee, Joe Daggat, finally comes back from earning his fortune overseas, she feels that her life has been disrupted. His appearance at her house shakes everything up; the bird would flutter about wildly in its cage and things would get knocked down. Joe Daggat himself would feel "as if surrounded by a hedge of lace" every time her went to visit Louisa. "He was afraid to stir lest he should put a clumsy foot or hand through the fairy web, and he had always the consciousness that Louisa was watching fearfully lest he should.
Louisa fears that by marrying Joe Daggat, she would be released from her "chain" and that her simple life of solitude would end. This is a lot like Caesar, who is permanantly chained up for biting a man. Louisa fears that by releasing Caesar, he would attack innocent children; thus, ending its life as a tamed dog. The wedding that she waited for came to be undesirable in the end. Louisa rather live a life at her secluded home with her dog and bird then to marry Joe Daggat, who would end up shattering her life of peaceful solitude.
After finding out that Joe Daggat...