A New England Nun

A New England Nun Irony

Domestic Labor (Situational Irony)

New England society in this era required women to take on difficult and lengthy housework to provide for their family after marriage. Louisa fears marriage in large part because she thinks she will be subject to difficult domestic labor in order to take care of her new husband and mother-in-law. Readers of the time may have seen this as ironic since Louisa's greatest joy in fact appears to be domestic labor—yet the story masterfully uses this seeming irony to highlight the difference between work for one's own sake and work in the service of others.