From the mid-nineteenth century through at least the first half of the twentieth, the southern code of appropriate feminine behavior required that women depend on sources outside themselves for sustenance, direction, and expression. The chivalric ideal that placed the southern lady on a pedestal often created within her gracious and gentle exterior a turmoil of frustration, confusion, and resentment.
This concept of upper middle-class, white southern womanhood forms an important part of the imaginative expression of the southern women writers whose works and lives form the subject matter of this book. All seven Augusta Jane Evans, Grace King, Kate Chopin, Mary Johnston, Ellen Glasgow, Frances Newman, and Margaret Mitchell—were themselves products of this genteel tradition.
Anne Goodwyn Jones explains that her aim is not to link biography and art but to seek, in the lives and works of these seven southern women writers, common patterns that can lead to ways to discern the mind of the southern lady. Tomorrow Is Another Day shows that, by writing themselves and their characters into being, by expressing their voices however variant in tone “these seven writers wrote themselves into another day.”