Paper B

Submitted By bolbol26
Words: 1201
Pages: 5

Actions of Love: Analysis of CHARACTER in Mary Wilkins Freeman’s “Old Woman Magoun”

Thuraya Al Quaty
English 1302, 7:30-8:50a.m. TTH
Patrick Schmidt, NRG
May 1st, 2014

A mother's instinct and intuition are two of the greatest wonders of the world. It is human nature for a mother to want to protect her son or daughter. The relationship between mother and daughter, however, is perhaps more closely knit. It is the most complex relationship two women can share. The mother/daughter relationship reinforces the strength of family ties. Mary Wilkins Freeman's "Old Woman Magoun" is the story of a woman who wants nothing more than to protect her granddaughter, whom she has raised as her own since shortly after her birth. Freeman portrays Old Woman Magoun as a self-reliant, independent, and courageous woman. She is distrustful of men and especially critical of the men in Barry's Ford. However, the very essence of Old Woman Magoun is shattered by the events of her life. One’s experiences often have an effect on the people he or she is. Throughout her life, Old Woman Magoun has had to be strong because she has been unable to count on anyone else. She takes care of her granddaughter Lily all by herself. Each one of Old Woman Magoun's experiences outlined in the story gives the reader insight into who the real Old Woman Magoun is. Although she masks her feelings and puts on a great front, Old Woman Magoun has very limited power and control over her granddaughter's fate. However, motivated by the events of the story and the great love she has for Lily, Old Woman Magoun takes extreme actions to protect Lily from the dangers of the world and she loves her granddaughter Lily dearly. There is nothing that she will not do for her. She is very cautious of what she allows Lily to do and whom she comes into contact with. Old Woman Magoun's ever-present and watchful eye causes Lily to live a very sheltered existence. She is forced to remain in a childlike and infantile state. Despite her fourteen years of age, Lily carries a rag doll and acts like a child. She has not been able to run around, play, and live the life of a normal child "Little Lily had never been allowed to run with the other children of Barry's Ford. Her grandmother had taught her everything she knew-" (Freeman 436). Old Woman Magoun is all that Lily has. She is all Lily is allowed to have. Old Woman Magoun needs Lily to need her. Her over-protectiveness reveals the guilt that she feels about what happened to her daughter. She feels that she has failed her daughter and failed as a parent. This undeniable guilt is what is behind her overprotective nature. It essentially causes her to do whatever she has to do to protect Lily. Not love, but guilt and a desire to right the wrongs of the past cause Old Woman Magoun to do whatever she has to do to protect Lily from the dangers she believes she may encounter. Old Woman Magoun is unable to control every aspect of her life; there are some things that are out of her control. This loss of control puts fear into her heart. She is afraid of what will happen to Lily if her father takes her. Old Woman Magoun knows that Nelson Barry only wants Lily so that he can settle a gambling debt. If allowed to go with her father, Lily will be forced into marriage or worse. Old Woman Magoun knows that if this happens, Lily will be forced into an adult world that she is not ready for. She is not willing to accept that Lily will have to go with Nelson and goes to great lengths to prevent this from happening. Faced with the real possibility of losing her granddaughter, Old Woman Magoun goes to see a lawyer. She is willing to give Lily away rather than let her father take her. When Lawyer Mason denies her request to adopt Lily, her world is turned upside down. For Old Woman Magoun, her worst fears are confirmed. She has spent the latter part of her life trying to protect Lily from meeting the same fate as her mother. She