Essay 4 outline old woman magoun

Essay 4 outline old woman magoun - The Angel of Death Mary...

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The Angel of Death Mary Wilkins Freeman’s “ Old Woman Magoun” embodies women’s desire for independence and equality. The author explores the use of old fashioned literary gender discrimination using feminist criticism. Instead of the classic patriarchal viewpoints of women being inferior to men, Mary Wilkins Freeman puts a negative spotlight on the men in her story and makes her heroine an old matriarch named old woman Magoun. In her story old woman Magoun raises her beautiful but naive granddaughter Lily, whose mother died and who is neglected by her father Nelson Barry. Nelson, who is the “fairly dangerous degenerate of a good old family” rarely takes part in his daughter’s life (Freeman N.P.). But when opportunity to pay off his debt comes along, Nelson is willing to basically sell his daughter into marriage. Old Woman Magoun keeps Lily young for a reason as to not expose her to the evils of the world. When Nelson comes to gather Lily he gives the old grandmother one week to get her things together and it is then that old woman Magoun knows what she must do to save Lily from becoming corrupt. After failing in her attempt to convince a lawyer and his wife to adopt Lily, old woman Magoun sees no other way to save Lily’s life then to end it. After old woman Magoun sadly allows Lily to eat poisonous berries, she becomes fatally sick and dies (Freeman N.P.) Many would think this a cruel and unusual thing for a mother figure to do to her child but in fact the old woman is merely trying to save her granddaughter from becoming yet another subordinate woman, and being seduced by the world and its evils. To most readers old woman Magoun is seen as a terrible person for passively letting Lily kill herself, but in the eyes of a feminist, old woman Magoun is seen as a heroine letting her granddaughter die pure and untouched by the vices of man. Heather Thomas’s “ 'It’s Your Father’s Way': The Father- Daughter Narrative and Female Development in Mary Wilkins Freeman’s Pembroke” , Doris Turkes’s Must Age Equal Failure ?: Sociology Looks at Mary Wilkins Freeman's Old Women” , and Catherine Stimpson’s Do these deaths surpass understanding?: The literary figure of the mother who murders, all give insight on why Mary Wilkins Freeman makes Old Woman Magoun a matriarchal heroine and not a cold blooded murderer. In Heather Thomas’s article 'It’s Your Father’s Way': The Father-Daughter Narrative and Female Development in Mary Wilkins Freeman’s Pembroke , Thomas describes most of Mary Wilkins Freeman’s female characters as dominating “autonomous adult women” and the patriarch or father figure is usually weak, selfish, and narcissistic as in the case in Freeman’s novel; Pembroke (1). Thomas makes the observation that in both Pembroke and Old Woman Magoun , the father figures do nothing but attempt to hinder their daughter’s independence and feminist freedom. In Old Woman Magoun , Nelson Barry tries to use his daughter to settle his
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This note was uploaded on 01/22/2012 for the course ENGL 203 taught by Professor Lee during the Fall '08 term at Texas A&M.

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Essay 4 outline old woman magoun - The Angel of Death Mary...

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