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A Sorrowful Woman & Gender Role

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A Sorrowful Woman & Gender Role

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Gail Godwin’s “A Sorrowful Woman” is to some extent an attack on marriage and gender roles. She allows us to view the social lie that comes with this commitment and in doing so I believe that Godwin is allowing her audience to see marriage from an entire different perspective. She is allowing us to see the reality of what the epigraph at the beginning of the story reads, Once Upon a time which always implies that it is a fairy tale with a happy ending. The protagonist being the nameless woman is portrayed as a woman with one too many roles. None to which she feels satisfied by. This woman deteriorates little by little and she withdraws from the environment that is causing her demise, the environment that keeps her busy as a mother, and a wife, her commitment to marriage. Her unhappiness and notable depression is depicted throughout the story. Her duties as a wife and a mother being the cause of her sadness and sickness are clearly visible when she observes both child and father and expresses to her husband that she does not want to see them. She is overwhelmed with them both and eventually shuts them out of her life. Not able to understand why she feels the way she does, she eventually questions herself, she wants to know what has happened to her; looking for an answer trying to find the woman she once knew as oppose to the woman she has now become. She is not able to decipher why she feels the way she does about her roles as a mother and a wife. Life to some extent is confined by a role related to gender. On the other hand the husband who is the antagonist abides by the marriage vows that he made to his wife and he stands by her in sickness and in health. Although she has emotionally locked herself away and has tired of her many roles he is supportive and he acknowledges that she needs her space and time. He demonstrates his support in numerous ways, one being that he expresses that he wants her to feel free as well as by hiring a girl to help around the...