A Sorrowful Woman is a short story written by Gail Godwin which revolves around the life of a woman, her husband, and their young child. The family lives as a happy unit until the woman realizes that she does not have any attachment with her husband and her child anymore. This leads to a series of happenings where the woman drifts her apart from the family. Godwin utilizes the character of the woman and her relationship with her husband and child to present the nature of the bond of marriage. She further uses the story to explain the fact that discontentment with a person’s life can make a person chose the path of self-destruction.
Gail Godwin uses the story of the Sorrowful Woman to explain the fact that marriage is a relationship where an individual has to sacrifice and love others for the attainment of a happy and peaceful life. Marriage is a bond between two people and the active participation of both members is essential to lead a good life. She explains this theme by means of the character of the woman who is no longer willing to stay with her family. The woman is not content with her husband and child and no longer wishes to indulge with them. The husband tries a lot and he puts in all his efforts to make the woman happy. He gives her all the space that she demands and takes over all the work of the household. His understanding of nature is clearly depicted when he tells her, “You need a rest from us.” The lack of participation from the woman’s side leads to a lack of improvement in their bond. Thus, Godwin explains by virtue of the story that the relationship of marriage requires the cooperation of both the husband and the wife.
The story also portrays the theme that dissatisfaction and disappointment with one’s own life can make a person lose track of what he actually wants in his life and lead him to self-destruction. The woman has a perfect family and her husband and child love her dearly. They do everything that they can to make her happy. But she is still insecure and her insecurity can clearly be seen when she fires the maid and tells her husband, “The girl upsets me.” She thinks of different roles for herself but is not satisfied with anything. Godwin explains this by saying, “She tried these personalities on like costumes, then discarded them.” When she does not find any other option and does not know what to do with her life, she kills herself.
The Sorrowful Woman by Gail Godwin is a story that is very near to the everyday life of people. It explains the relationships and the importance of love and harmony for the continuation of a happy life. She uses the life of the woman and her husband to display the important elements for leading a happy married life. She further uses the character of the woman to show that unhappiness and sorrow without any reason can make a person choose the wrong path.