Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A number of subjects are explored in this work. The values of sisterhood and of a community are major topics. Mrs. Crowe has lived in her very restricted world, barely extending a helping hand to the many needy in her community. Sarah Ann Binson has worked alone to support her sister’s family. Keeping the watch demonstrates how these two women can work together and are able to form a community to serve a friend. The changes in them, especially in Mrs. Crowe, suggest the end of an era, a way of life, and the ushering in of the new. The importance of nature in the form of the brook and a whistling wind, and of one’s obligations to one’s fellow human beings, are also dominant themes.