Short Story Analysis: A Secret Sorrowful Woman

678 Words 3 Pages
AP English IV
Compare and Contrast Essay In Karen Van der Zee’s novel, A Secret Sorrow , and Gail Godwin’s short story,” A Sorrowful Woman”, both scenarios are focused on certain ideas of marriage and family. Although, the two stories couldn’t be any more different from each other in terms of what should happen and what actually is. Van der Zee portrays married life as a wonderful experience, including a happy marriage complete with children. Faye, the central character in A Secret Sorrow, wants the fairytale, story book marriage and sees it as her main source of happiness. For the unknown wife in Godwin’s “A Sorrowful Woman”, her marriage and family are no longer making her happy, causing her to become disheartened and eventually leads
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For Faye, her problem comes prior to her marriage. In A Secret Sorrow, Faye is highly hysterical over the reality of her not being able to bear children and is doubtful that she will ever be able to marry. Both Faye and her love Kai, want a marriage with children included in the picture and Van der Zee makes it seems as though this will be the only way that they will be happy. Faye feels like her incapability of being able to have children is an imperfection on her part that would potentially make Kai leave her. Faye more than once mentions to Kai that she feels “I’ve failed you!” (35) And that Kai could “marry someone else and have children of your own.” (34). Faye’s insecurities and fear are all centered on the idea that Kai will leave her and she won’t have the life she’s always wanted. For the wife in “A Sorrowful Woman”, her problem comes during her marriage. She’s been married for a while and has a child- everything Faye dreams of but Godwin’s character is unsatisfied with. Oddly enough, her husband and son give her such grief that she can longer able to bear to speak or look at them directly, reducing their communication down to notes being passed beneath her bedroom door. This scenario of sadness and sorrow occurring with Godwin’s character would seemingly never occur in A Secret Sorrow seeing how it is set as a basic romance novel. It would be going against the expected ending of ‘happily ever after’, where the white wedding happens and there’s a happy

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