If I Can't Have Her, No One Can (Old Woman Magoun)

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Essay Database > Literature > English
Most people, when forced to give up the one thing they truly love, would rather see it be destroyed than in the hands of another person. In “Old Woman Magoun,” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, the old woman is in that position. She is burdened with relinquishing custody of her granddaughter, Lily, to the child’s father. Throughout the story, the old woman faces an inner struggle over caring for and, ultimately, losing her granddaughter. …

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…make decisions that prevent her from ever seeing her granddaughter again and the emptiness that accompanies her loss causes her extreme suffering. Mary E. Wilkins Freeman wants her readers to understand that due to the society we live in, we are expected to conform and when we do not, we suffer the consequences. Old Woman Magoun willfully chooses to rebel against her role in society and she unintentionally punishes herself as a result of it.