A New England Nun

by

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

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Joe Dagget Character Analysis

Joe Dagget is a working man who lives in New England and is engaged to Louisa Ellis. The couple got engaged fifteen years ago, but Joe left for Australia to earn money, and he was gone for the first fourteen years of their engagement. Though he loved Louisa, things have been awkward between them since he returned: he visits her twice a week, but, with his heavy gait and large size, he seems ill-suited to her delicate lifestyle of needlework and drinking tea from china cups. Since he’s returned, Joe has fallen for a woman named Lily Dyer, his mother’s caretaker. Joe and Lily meet in secret one night, where they confess their feelings for each other, although Lily says she’s leaving town and Joe says he’d never break his vow to Louisa. Unbeknownst to the pair, Louisa overhears the conversation and breaks up with Joe the next day. Joe swears that he never would have left Louisa, that he would have stuck with her if she’d wanted him, but he does admit that he thinks they are both better off this way. Joe and Louisa part ways on good, tender terms, with both of their honor intact. Because of this, Joe is free to pursue Lily Dyer.

Joe Dagget Quotes in A New England Nun

The A New England Nun quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Dagget or refer to Joe Dagget. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
).
A New England Nun Quotes

She had barely folded the pink and white one with methodical haste and laid it in a table-drawer when the door opened and Joe Dagget entered.

He seemed to fill up the whole room. A little yellow canary that had been asleep in his green cage at the south window woke up and fluttered wildly, beating his little yellow wings against the wires. He always did so when Joe Dagget came into the room.

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis, Joe Dagget
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

“Good-evening,” said Louisa. She extended her hand with a kind of solemn cordiality.
“Good-evening, Louisa,” returned the man, in a loud voice.
She placed a chair for him, and they sat facing each other, with the table between them. He sat bolt-upright, toeing out his heavy feet squarely, glancing with a good-humored uneasiness around the room. She sat gently erect, folding her slender hands in her white-linen lap.
“Been a pleasant day,” remarked Dagget.
“Real pleasant,” Louisa assented, softly. “Have you been haying?” she asked, after a little while.
“Yes, I’ve been haying all day, down in the ten-acre lot. Pretty hot work.”
“It must be.”
“Yes, it’s pretty hot work in the sun.”

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis (speaker), Joe Dagget (speaker)
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

He came twice a week to see Louisa Ellis, and every time, sitting there in her delicately sweet room, he felt as if surrounded by a hedge of lace. He was afraid to stir lest he should put a clumsy foot or hand through the fairy web, and he had always the consciousness that Louisa was watching fearfully lest he should.

Still the lace and Louisa commanded perforce his perfect respect and patience and loyalty. They were to be married in a month, after a singular courtship which had lasted for a matter of fifteen years.

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis, Joe Dagget, Lily Dyer
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

In that length of time much had happened. Louisa’s mother and brother had died, and she was all alone in the world. But greatest happening of all—a subtle happening which both were too simple to understand—Louisa’s feet had turned into a path, smooth maybe under a calm, serene sky, but so straight and unswerving that it could only meet a check at her grave, and so narrow that there was no room for any one at her side.

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis, Joe Dagget
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

Joe’s mother, domineering, shrewd old matron that she was even in her old age, and very likely even Joe himself, with his honest masculine rudeness, would laugh and frown down all these pretty but senseless old maiden ways.

Louisa had almost the enthusiasm of an artist over the mere order and cleanliness of her solitary home. She had throbs of genuine triumph at the sight of the window-panes which she had polished until they shone like jewels. She gloated gently over her orderly bureau-drawers, with their exquisitely folded contents redolent with lavender and sweet clover and very purity. Could she be sure of the endurance of even this?

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis, Joe Dagget
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

“If you should jilt her to-morrow, I wouldn’t have you,” spoke up the girl, with sudden vehemence.

“Well, I ain’t going to give you the chance,” said he; “but I don’t believe you would, either.”

“You’d see I wouldn’t. Honor’s honor, an’ right’s right. An’ I’d never think anything of any man that went against ’em for me or any other girl; you’d find that out, Joe Dagget.”

Related Characters: Joe Dagget (speaker), Lily Dyer (speaker), Louisa Ellis
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

She sat at her window and meditated. In the evening Joe came. Louisa Ellis had never known that she had any diplomacy in her, but when she came to look for it that night she found it, although meek of its kind, among her little feminine weapons. Even now she could hardly believe that she had heard aright, and that she would not do Joe a terrible injury should she break her troth-plight. She wanted to sound him without betraying too soon her own inclinations in the matter. She did it successfully, and they finally came to an understanding; but it was a difficult thing, for he was as afraid of betraying himself as she.

Related Characters: Louisa Ellis, Joe Dagget, Lily Dyer
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
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Joe Dagget Character Timeline in A New England Nun

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Dagget appears in A New England Nun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A New England Nun
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Restriction, Freedom, and Art Theme Icon
A half hour later, Joe Dagget comes to the house. Louisa hears him approaching because of his “heavy step” on... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
When Joe comes into the home, Louisa feels like he “fills up the whole room.” There is... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Louisa and Joe greet each other with strained cordiality. She brings him a chair, and they sit across... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Joe begins to fiddle with some books on a table—an autograph album and a Young Lady’s... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
An hour later, Joe is ready to leave, but on his way out he trips over a rug. Trying... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Although Joe comes to visit Louisa twice a week, he is still not comfortable in her home,... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Back then, Louisa, for her part, had encouraged Joe to travel. She and Joe had kissed good-bye, with Joe promising that it wouldn’t be... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Joe, too, had begun to feel apprehension just after he returned. Though he still found himself... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Restriction, Freedom, and Art Theme Icon
Louisa knows that if she marries Joe, she will have to leave her home and go to live at Joe’s homestead with... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Yet, despite all of Louisa’s concerns about the marriage, she feels like she cannot betray Joe by going back on her promise to marry him. So, she continues to sew “exquisite... (full context)
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
...to go on without being seen. Then, she recognizes one of the voices: it is Joe Dagget’s. Louisa realizes that Joe is with Lily Dyer. Lily is lit by the moonlight,... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Thinking they are alone, Lily and Joe begin to speak. Lily says that she’ll be leaving town, and Joe replies, with feeling,... (full context)
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Joe again insists that he is not leaving Louisa. He and Lily’s emotions are heightened and... (full context)
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
After Lily says this, Louisa hears a “soft commotion” from where Joe and Lily are sitting. Then Lily stands up and insists they “put a stop” to... (full context)
Gender Roles for Women  Theme Icon
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
...does not work on her wedding dress. She meditates by the window. Later that night, Joe comes by. Louisa summons all the “diplomacy” she can muster and breaks up with him.... (full context)
Honor, Decorum, and Restraint  Theme Icon
Joe responds honestly, saying that he does agree it might be better this way. But he... (full context)