A New England Nun

A New England Nun Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the role of color in "A New England Nun"?

    First, color serves to establish an important parallel in the text: between Louisa and her canary. After tea, Louisa wears a green apron, while the canary sleeps in a green age. Color is also an important visual component used to describe Louisa's meticulous personality. For example, each of Louisa's aprons is a different color, each of which signifies a different activity and purpose.

  2. 2

    Why do you think Freeman chooses to end her story with Louisa living happily alone? What lesson might Freeman have intended to convey by concluding "A New England Nun" in this way?

    "A New England Nun" concludes with Louisa content with utter solitude. But Freeman is ambiguous about the lesson embedded in that happiness: after all, Louisa's solitude comes at the price of giving up a future of love and intimate human relationships. It is possible that Freeman might be communicating a lesson about the impossible choice that women of her era faced: between marriage and loss of control on the one hand, or autonomy and loss of connection on the other hand.

  3. 3

    Do you think "A New England Nun" is a feminist text? Why or why not?

    "A New England Nun" is a feminist text because it centers on the experiences and choices of women. Louisa has flaws, but nevertheless she has a strong personality and, even more importantly, clearly defines a lifestyle for her own self. She struggles with difficult decisions and ultimately makes a choice. This emphasis on the inner world and complicated choices of women defines Freeman's writing and makes her a feminist writer in her own right.