The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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Short Story Archives > The Complete Shorter Fiction - The Widow's Mite

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message 1: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
This story was written in 1862 about the Lacashire cotton famine. He was asked to write from the point of view of a somewhat poor individual. He responded that he could not do that.

The story indicates that giving to charity blesses the giver as well as the receiver. What do you think?


message 2: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
What does this story say about importance in life?


message 3: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments That was a different type of story. I had never thought about the fact that when the North and South went to war in the U.S. that the lack of a cotton harvest affected people in other parts of the world. And it was strange reading that the pastor took the South's side because of that: the lack of cotton seems the least of the issues that were part of the Civil War. Definitely a different perspective.

As for the concept of sacrifice, I liked where Trollope was going. Most of us complain if we have to sacrifice, but at the end of the day, would we really miss the things that we think we are sacrificing? No.

Although, I think it was Charles, made a good point. She was helping people at the expense of the milliners. By giving to charity rather than to business, she was hurting another set of people. Nothing has a simple solution.

The only part I didn't like was Trollope's view on Americans. It becomes tiring after awhile reading the negative views on Americans from the Brits. They lost the war - get over it. ;)


message 4: by Silver (new)

Silver I did not enjoy this story as much as the others I have thus far read. Though I did enjoy the overall message behind the book not only regarding charity, but also about the true meaning of marriage. Thinking of how much people spend on outlandish weddings but as they said in the story in the end no one missed the finery and in fact were more comfortable without it and it was not the clothes which mattered but the love between Nora and Fredric.

There were a couple of things I found perplexing.

I never understood the meaning of the word "Widow" in the story. It was said that Nora misunderstood her aunt when her aunt called her a widow, but I don't know what her aunt meant by the word and why Nora was a widow?

Also I don't know exactly what a mite is?

Nor did I understand the meaning of the phrase often repeated "It is never easy to be a widow with two mites"


message 5: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Silver wrote: "I did not enjoy this story as much as the others I have thus far read. Though I did enjoy the overall message behind the book not only regarding charity, but also about the true meaning of marriage..."

This is what I got out of it. If anybody else got something else, please chime in. Widow would have no financial support and a limited income. The income or mite would, therefore, be important. The person who was being charitable is a widow metaphorically as he/she would be deciding to give up something important - the mite.


message 6: by Silver (new)

Silver Deborah wrote: "Silver wrote: "I did not enjoy this story as much as the others I have thus far read. Though I did enjoy the overall message behind the book not only regarding charity, but also about the true mean..."

Thanks, that makes sense to me.


message 7: by Lynnm (last edited Dec 16, 2015 04:12PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments And, as Trollope writes in the story, the widow is also from the story in the New Testament. Nora wants to be like the widow in that parable, but her circumstances place her in a financial position where she can't be like the widow: the widow has almost nothing and gives from her nothingness, while Nora is financially secure - therefore, she can never give in that same way.


message 8: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "And, as Trollope writes in the story, the widow is also from the story in the New Testament. Nora wants to be like the widow in that parable, but her circumstances place her in a financial position..."

Thanks Lynn. I didn't make that connection.


message 9: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1800 comments Mod
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesso...

For those of us who were sent to Sunday school it's a well known reference, but for many modern readers it wouldn't resonate.


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver Frances wrote: "https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesso...

For those of us who were sent to Sunday school it's a well known reference, but for many modern readers it wouldn't resonate."


Interesting thanks for the info.


message 11: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesso...

For those of us who were sent to Sunday school it's a well known reference, but for many modern readers it wouldn't resonate."


I was sent to Sunday, and have actually read the New Testament -twice. But I had forgotten the story.


message 12: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1800 comments Mod
Were you one of those kids in the back row who weren't paying attention:) ?


message 13: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "Were you one of those kids in the back row who weren't paying attention:) ?"

Lol. Nope, just old and lot of books between then and now.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "... it was strange reading that the pastor took the South's side because of that: the lack of cotton seems the least of the issues that were part of the Civil War. Definitely a different perspective. ..."

I agree. I had never thought about that, either. That even in the 1860s war on the far side of the ocean would have such an effect on ordinary people was a perspective I wasn't aware of.


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Frances wrote: "https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesso...

For those of us who were sent to Sunday school it's a well known reference, but for many modern readers it wouldn't resonate."


And for Trollope's readers, of course, it would be a totally familiar reference.


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Silver wrote: "I did not enjoy this story as much as the others I have thus far read. ."

Nor did I. It seemed to go on and on with very little development either of character or plot. It was just around and around without really going anywhere.


message 17: by Silver (new)

Silver Everyman wrote: "Silver wrote: "I did not enjoy this story as much as the others I have thus far read. ."

Nor did I. It seemed to go on and on with very little development either of character or plot. It was just ..."


Yes that is what I felt. The whole story was just a discussion about giving to charity and nothing actually happens.


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