American Indian Stories by Zitkala–Sa was a very interesting read for me. The Article, Zitkala-Sa’s Autobiographical Writings: The Problems of a Canonical Search for Language and Identity by Martha J. Cutter speaks of the narrative in a way that simultaneously also questions our definition of an autobiography. Why should we expect Zitkala-Sa’s writing to conform to the “canonical models of autobiography” in which we know? Cutter points out that as a Native American who was forced to “speak and write in the language of the oppressor,” meaning us, what right do we have to expect he to conform to the very same institution which suppressed her? Zitkala-Sa writing violates traditional notions of autobiography because by doing so she gained her own audience attention by writing in a way her people would be familiar with. The imagery used by her proves to validate her own culture while also using “Christian motifs” against their white originators to make a commentary on the destruction of Native American culture. The main objective of this writing is to emphasize how crucial it is to look at Zitkala-Sa writing through the scope of how it’s refused to satisfy assumptions, and through this refusal, she calls these assumptions into question. In a way, it asks people to reconsider their predispositions they already have conceived about language in their head. This helped to further enhance my reading of these stories by Zitkala-Sa because it showed me a new way to view her writing and also shows me along with her writing how groundbreaking her writing is because it refused to conform to that of the oppressor.
Source: Cutter, Martha J. “Zitkala-Sa’s Autobiographical Writings: The Problems of a Canonical Search for Language and Identity.” Melus, vol. 19, no. 1, 1994, pp. 31, ProQuest Central Essentials, http://jerome.stjohns.edu:81/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/203690918?accountid=14068.
The topic I was most interested in was Fallen Women, which we learned from The Coquette by Hannah Foster. I search many databases and found articles, short stories, drawings, and more on databases such as Proquest, Library of Congress and Gutenbuerg. These were all the main sites used to compile information regarding Fallen Women because it was very difficult for me to find information at first. One of the many things that I’ve discovered regarding this trope of Fallen Women is that there is a hand full of the short stories I’ve discovered that focus not on the woman who fell, but rather on the family members such as her mother or daughter said Fallen Woman had. Despite this theme, there are other stories that show fallen women, however, they are in a different light than The Coquette and the short stories mentioned above. There are other stories that have long winding twisting tales rather than the basic aftermath of being associated with one of these Fallen Women. It’s a very interesting topic and I can’t wait to share my findings with the rest of my peers.
In my previous post, I spoke of how the novel The Passing by Nella Larsen was possibly about discovering one’s sexuality along with the novel’s main focus on ‘passing’. The article, ‘That Unresolved Restless Feeling’: The Homosexual Subtexts of Nella Larsen’s Passing by David L. Blackmore speaks about the underlying themes of sexuality between two women in Larsen’s novel. This text suggests that Larsen’s literary experimentation mirrors a trend seen in Harlem in the 1920’s, a trend that lesbianism and female bisexuality got attention as being “naughty” but exciting options for “adventurous, “modern” women.” The main point of the article is the point that for Irene, lesbianism offers an alternative to the repressive middle-class marriage she was currently involved in with her husband Brian. This repressive heterosexuality middle-class order presents as emotionally empty and sexually stifling, which are both traits seen in Irene and Brian. Lesbianism would be the ultimate act of rebellion against the patriarchal system repressing Irene throughout the novel, and it also offers the most noticeable representation of female independence from this “masculinist social order.” This article helped to enhance my reading of The Passing because it is further seeking to prove what I speculated in the very beginning of my reading of this novel, and provided evidence to support the claim that Larsen was possibly sending another message throughout her writing of this.
Source: Blackmore, David L. “`That Unreasonable Restless Feeling’: The Homosexual Subtexts of Nella Larsen’s Passing.” African American Review, vol. 26, no. 3, Fall92, p. 475. EBSCOhost, jerome.stjohns.edu:81/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9601230452&site=ehost-live.
While first reading this novel, The Passing by Nella Larsen, I was very intrigued by the description the narrator, Irene, gives of Clare. The way it is worded by Larsen gave me the impression that an unknown women, who we are later told is Clare, is eyeing Irene up. Almost like someone would make flirty eyes at someone from a far away table in Starbucks in today’s society.
An attractive-looking woman, was Irene’s opinion, with those dark, almost black, eyes and that wide mouth like a scarlet flower against the Ivory of her skin. Nice clothes too, just right for the weather, thin and cool without being mussy, as summer things were so apt to be (6).
Now we know from the beginning of the novel that Irene is married with two kids, so this description of Clare made me question whether this booking was going to be about more than just the idea of a black person passing as a white human, maybe it could also be about the discovery of one’s sexuality, which if done with the same sex at the time was very scandalous and controversial as is passing in the novel.
I really loved the idea of Fallen Women and relating it to people and characters in today’s society. However, upon looking through the archives it was difficult to find something that matched this due to the fact that I think it was a difficult topic to get published especially if it was by a woman. So I searched fallen women, exiled women, rules for women etc. And I was able to discover a couple of interesting pieces. Writings such as From the Ball-room to Hell, The Legal status of Women, Women as God made Her: the true woman. The last one written by a pastor who used scripture as his reasoning for why women should not be given rights. In relation to Fallen Women though, I was able to find one illustrated picture called The two paths– What will the girl become? In this illustration, it depicts a little girl on the very top center and shows two different paths to the sides of the child. The left path shows the little girl taking actions not acceptable in society at that time and the right path shows the girl growing up but in a respectable way through going to church and such. I find that really interesting so I may continue to dig deeper to find something more which I can actually write about.
While reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet stated that abolitionists were just as guilty as the slave owners. Learning this fact interested me because growing up, in history class all I really recall was that Abolitionists were the good guys. So while looking through the archives I found one really interesting piece of literature about slavery and abolitionism with specific reference or implication about the duty of American females. Another interesting piece of writing I found was a pamphlet of sorts written by an abolitionist who argues that women are enslaved through marriage.
Through my research overall, I found a lot of potential topics of interest for my digital edition and now it’s just a matter of choosing which one to focus on.
The ending of Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening was expected as much as it was unexpected. Many women in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century fiction meet untimely deaths such as Edna did. The reason for this, I believe, is because most women do not get to break free of a male-dominated society and the role of a woman in said male-dominated society, disregard their husband and children, have an emotional affair and still get their happy ending.
Throughout the novel, the sea seemed to symbolize freedom and escape for Edna. When in the water she is reminded of the extent of the ocean and her role as a human being within it. By Edna ending her life in the sea, it stands to possibly show that instead of her being suffocated by the small role in society she had, she now has set herself free to infinite possibilities.
While some may see her suicide as a display of Male-dominated society prevailing, I don’t agree with that. Nor do I agree with the statement that her act of suicide was an act of Literation, therefore, making her the ‘ultimate feminist.” I believe that it was an act of escape which might make her the ultimate feminist, however, I don’t consider her death as her victory in the novel. Throughout the novel, we see Edna’s will change and we follow her on her journey to break free of the constraints society has imposed on her. She discovered that it was her will and desire to be free and this is her victory rather than her act of suicide by the sea.
The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin is a title that she chose and it has such symbolism and depth in the meaning behind it.
The Awakening is a term that can be used to describe what happened to the main character in the novel, Edna Pontellier. Edna is awakened to the fact that her life has been constrained by the expectations of society that a woman is there to serve her family and husband with nothing more than that. The title is so important because it draws the reader in by making them question automatically, “what is she awakened from?” It is an appropriate term for the novella because through this Awakening the main character has, the story becomes about a woman’s desire to find herself and live her true self despite societal boundaries at the time.
This might relate to other awakenings in American history and culture because sadly this is somewhat of a reoccurring theme in American history. Society leads people to believe that there is only one way to live your life; it tells people how they have to look, how they need to dress, and what the need to do to succeed in life. And I think that there are a few people who have had an “awakening” of sorts and realized that they don’t need to conform to the ideals of society- but it’s still a battle many people, adults and children alike, struggle with. The battle of whether a person should be themselves or fit in? Obviously being yourself doesn’t fit in with society, or so people have come to believe and I believe that people need to realize or have an ‘awakening’ that this is false.