Skip to main content

"A Village Singer"

"A Village Singer"

Through her different genres of work including children's stories, poems, and short stories, Mary Wilkins Freeman sought to demonstrate her values as a feminist. During the time in which she was writing, from the 1890s into the 20th century, she did this in nonconventional ways; for example, she diverged from making her female characters weak and in need of help, which was a common trope in literature.  

Candace, the protagonist of today's story, "A Village Singer," exhibits almost a caricature of an otherwise-polite and easygoing woman who is forced by her circumstances to rail alone against what she perceives to be injustices foisted upon her.  So much the better for our story’s rather satiric point of view that the local church appears to be responsible for much of her unhappiness.

Freeman's parents were orthodox Congregationalists, bestowing a very strict childhood upon her. Religious constraints play a key role in some of her works, and she passes a smiling eye, in this story, over a disingenuous act of charity gone wrong.

In April 1926, Freeman became the first recipient of the William Dean Howells Medal for Distinction in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She produced more than two dozen volumes of published short stories and novels; included in her work is a volume of ghost stories, many of which are excellent representations of the genre.

And now, “A Village Singer” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman…we begin….