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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman - Author Questions

Back Back to Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Activities
  1. Comprehension:In "A New England Nun," what kinds of pets does Louisa have? How do their lives symbolically suggest the limits of Louisa's own existence?

  2. Context: Why are Mother and Nancy dissatisfied with their home in "The Revolt of 'Mother' "? What kinds of improvements do they wish for? How do their visions for their new home coincide with contemporary ideas about home decoration and parlor culture?

  3. Context: In both "A New England Nun" and "The Revolt of 'Mother,' " Freeman narrates women's assertion of control over their own domestic situations. What kinds of strategies do Louisa and Mother employ to gain their ends? How empowering are their "revolts"? Should they be characterized as revolts? How do Freeman's depictions of women exercising domestic authority compare with Chopin's portrait of Edna Pontellier's drive for autonomy in The Awakening? Do Louisa or Mother experience anything like an "awakening"?

  4. Exploration: Freeman was fascinated by the legacy of Puritanism in New England, explaining that her characters were "the descendants of the Massachusetts Bay Colonists, in whom can still be seen traces of will and conscience, so strong as to be almost exaggerations and deformities, which characterized their ancestors." How do Freeman's characters compare to the Puritans featured in Unit 3 (John Winthrop, Anne Bradsteet, or Mary Rowlandson, for example)? How do the scruples and morals that motivate Freeman's characters' actions resonate with Puritan values?

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