How is the woman sympathetic in A Sorrowful Woman?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Sorrowful Woman by Gail Godwin is a sad story with a sad ending. It is about a troubled woman who goes through life feeling unhappy and at times takes it out on both her husband and her son. The husband endures and remains supportive of the wife. His attempts at improving the situation back home fail miserably and his wife ends up dead.

The mother was unable to take care of her son and this forced the husband to seek the services of a baby-sitter. The situation deteriorates between the mother and her young son, leading to the hiring of a live-in baby-sitter. This change brings hope to the husband, who begins to spend more time with the wife. This blissful period is, however, short-lived when the wife asks the husband to fire the help. The departure of the help leads to a more tumultuous period with the woman completely withdrawing from her family.

The husband is relentless and supports his wife and maintains communication through notes. The wife expresses her sympathy by cooking her family a loaf of bread and other sumptuous meals, doing laundry and becoming more active in an attempt to restore normalcy. This situation ends in tragedy when the husband finds his wife dead in her room.