A New England Nun Questions and Answers
by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

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What is the significance and symbolism of Caesar in relationship to Louisa in "A New England Nun" by Mary Wilkins Freeman?

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Mary Wilkins Freeman enjoyed the prestige of being counted among a small group of women writers who gained popularity  at the end of the nineteenth century.  Known as a local color writer, Freeman wrote about women who felt the strain of domestic life and the domination of men.  In 1891, she wrote “A New England Nun” which tells the story of Louisa Ellis, an unusual protagonist.


The story, told through a third person limited omniscient narrator, evolves around Louisa.  She  has learned to live a solitary life, despite her engagement of fifteen years to a fortune hunter. Joe Dagget, her fiancé of fifteen years, has spent fourteen years seeking his  fortune. As Louisa waited, she cloistered herself through the solitary ways she adopted waiting for Joe.

One week before the wedding, Louisa goes for a walk. When she sits down to rest, Louisa overhears a conversation between her fiancé and Lily Dyer. She learns of their feelings for each other, but also of Joe’s intention...

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