Mrs. Wilson In Sedgwick's A New England Tale

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In Sedgwick’s A New-England Tale, Mrs. Wilson is the classic representation of a novel’s antagonist, especially in regards to how she treats protagonist, Jane Elton. However, it is the parenting, or lack thereof that has the greatest impact on the lives of Elvira and David Wilson, who despite being prohibited from engaging in sinful behavior, do just that. Sedgwick demonstrates that Mrs. Wilson’s salvation may have given her an authority over others, but when she failed to teach her children the ways of the Lord, her responsibility abandonment led to her children’s act of sin.
Hiding away in the garret, readers find that Elvira, in act of defiance against her mother’s prohibitions keeps a romantic novel in the dark corners that she reads for “stolen pleasure” despite her mother’s beliefs that her morality will be tainted, that her fantasy of the ideal lover will ruin her chances of finding a proper love in life (40). Jane, being sent by Mrs. Wilson to retrieve the daughter for a conference is asked to lie as Elvira says to the virtuous Ms. Elton, “Why can’t you go down and tell Mother you can’t find me. Just tell her, you guess I have gone down to Miss Banneker 's,” (40). It’s aggravating to witness Elvira’s behavior, not only in relation to the sins she is committing to rebel against Mrs. Wilson, but she tries to manipulate Jane into committing the same sin. This scapegoat role that Elvira expects Jane to fulfill becomes most prominent at the night of the ball, when she

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