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Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener or Gail Godwin, A Sorrowful Woman choose one - Essay Example

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The narrator of the story is an objective omniscient narrator because she can follow any character at any point in time, although it seems that she…
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Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener or Gail Godwin, A Sorrowful Woman choose one
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June 4, Point of View in Godwin’s “A Sorrowful Woman” Gail Godwin’s “A Sorrowful Woman” tells the story of a woman who hasgiven up on life, particularly her life as a woman. The narrator of the story is an objective omniscient narrator because she can follow any character at any point in time, although it seems that she follows more the perspective of the sorrowful woman because the narrator seems to be focused on observing and describing the usual activities of women. The narrator shows the woman’s subjectivity through the perspective’s objectivity because, as she describes the woman’s feelings and actions and the actions of the people around her, the objectivity of the voice is a mask for the subjectivity of womanhood where womanhood is subjective because society narrowly defines and controls it.
The narrator of the story is an objective omniscient narrator because she can follow any character around and do not provide interpretations. The narrator provides information on other characters which makes her omniscient. The narrator follows what the father and son to do together one time. The woman is sleeping, but the narrator knows what the father and child did together: “He took the child for a walk, and when they returned, red-cheeked and boisterous, the father made supper” (Godwin 1). The narrator also turns to other characters to inform the audience of what they are doing. The narrator, furthermore, is also objective because she does not offer judgments or interpretations and lets the readers interpret what is happening. For instance, as the story ends, the narrator describes everything the woman did and then adds: “The house smelled redolently of renewal and spring” (Godwin 5). There is something ironic about “renewal and spring” when the woman plans to kill herself after doing her household duties. The narrator is then leaving the interpretation to the readers.
Aside from being objective and omniscient, the narrator’s subjectivity helps readers to understand that the objective tone is ironically subjective because focusing on women’s roles and responsibilities showed that the woman wanted to die because she is tired of being a woman. The narrator hides her subjectivity through objective omniscience. Still, it is clear that the narrator is obsessed with feminine roles and obligations. For example, the narrator describes what the girl maid did as part of her daily work:
She painted the room white, fed the child lunch, read edifying books, raced the boy to the mailbox…She knitted dresses for herself and played chess with the husband. She washed and set the mothers soft ash-blonde hair and gave her neck rubs, offered to. (Godwin 2).
The girl is doing everything that a woman should do as a wife and as a mother. The sorrowful woman then fired her because the girl reminds her of her traditional social roles. Thus, the narrator has a powerful way of showing how the subjective world of women is socially controlled, and so the woman just killed herself to escape it.
To be a woman in the traditional sense is a large burden for women who hate being traditional women, and the narrator shows this through an objective and omniscient perspective. What is interesting is how the objectivity is on surface level. Choosing to focus on women’s gender roles and responsibilities is a subjective way of expressing women’s place in society. The objectivity of the narrator reveals the subjectivity of the story that allows understanding of the psychological conditions of the woman. She became sorrowful because of her traditional gender duties and she wanted to die to escape the society that controls the concept of womanhood.
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Godwin, Gail. “A Sorrowful Woman.” Web. 3 June 2014. . Read More
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