Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

In her fiction, Sarah Orne Jewett consciously collapses gender dichotomies. She, in effect, dissolves the binary oppositions of gender, of the polarities termed woman and man. Sometimes the discontent...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

Many have helped me to write this work. At Drew University, Arthur Jones introduced me to Sarah Orne Jewett in a seminar on American realism. I am most grateful to Merrill Skaggs, who guided my research...

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Introduction: Jewett's "Housebreaker" versus Ruskin's "Queens": Liberation from the Victorian Home and Garden

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pp. 1-18

Sarah Orne Jewett was a Victorian woman, subject to the socialization process of her time. Yet she repudiated the belief of her era that women could occupy only a narrow, separate sphere. In her life and work...

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Part I: Escape and Denial

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pp. 19-22

Jewett appears to write her own account of the developmental stages in the aging process. Growth should occur naturally, coming full circle from childhood through adolescence and adulthood to a maturity...

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1. Childhood Escapades

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pp. 23-34

No one represents Jewett's concept of an ideal, free childhood better than Jewett herself. She first lived the life she willed to her young female characters. She did not participate in the typical girlhood activities...

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2. Adolescent Retreat

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pp. 35-54

Out of childhood, Nan Prince is transfigured into an I atypically free adolescent. Her trauma is minimal; her path is set. In fact, the chapter describing Nan's decision to become a doctor and her entrance into...

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3. Fairy Godmothers

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pp. 55-62

To counteract women's lack of power in society, Jewett employs one fanciful method to exercise a type of wish-fulfillment in the appearance of the figure of the fairy godmother. Within an arena of positive escapism...

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Part II: No Escape: The Acceptance of Dual Norms

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pp. 63-66

For those characters who accept society's pattern of behavior with its double standards for men and for women, Jewett makes clear there is no room for development. Trapped in the roles assumed during...

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4. Paralyzed Men

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pp. 67-80

Frequently, Jewett scholars have cited her male characters as malformed human beings. Polar opposites, these men are generally either weak or malicious. Most often, they are flawed precisely because...

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5. Aristocratic Women

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pp. 81-96

As discussed in the first section, the aristocratic, or upper-class, women are removed from the natural landscape. Some of these women are glancing at life through windows; all are enclosed in houses. These...

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6. Romance

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pp. 97-114

Sarah Orne Jewett could not write a story about romance, the so-called love story. She had too much integrity. Jewett rejected romance with men for herself, and she wrote of the need for her women...

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7. The Standard Marriage

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pp. 115-130

In her depiction of the standard marriage, if the reader glances between the lines, Jewett records the tragedy that befalls two people who believe the romantic picture, marry while young, and strain to remain...

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Part III: Breaking Free

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pp. 131-134

While Jewett sees the deadening inconsistencies within the patriarchal system for men and for women, she is not one for despair. Although there is far more negativism in Jewett's works than has been...

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8. Sexual Transformation

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pp. 135-140

With the knowledge that people are entombed in rigid gender roles, Jewett explores the idea of sexual transformation or role reversal. Several critics have noticed this phenomenon in Jewett, mainly Richard...

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9. Women Unrestrained

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pp. 141-158

Jewett recognized the limitations of reversing male and female roles, wherein each would acquire the mannerisms and personality traits usually associated with the other. Isolating and accentuating only certain...

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10. Redeemed Men

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pp. 159-182

Jewett did not forget the men. Nor did she only view them as warped, stunted creatures, as critics have upheld. The tone of any Jewett story is devoid of hostility and abhorrence, for it did not seem to be...

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11. The Postponed Marriage

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pp. 183-196

Men and women working together is not an alien concept in Jewett. She does not rule out marriage for her characters, but she does see the need to postpone the event. Women past childbearing years...

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12. "A White Heron": Symbolic Possibilities for Androgyny

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pp. 197-206

The world of "A White Heron" is not a people world, though it is very human. While Jewett remains doubtful in "A White Heron" of the present possibility of men and women joining together, she...

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13. Beyond Gender: The Country of the Pointed Firs

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pp. 207-228

ewett's narrator in The Country of the Pointed Firs could easily be Sylvia grown-up, a participator in "the vast and awesome world." But in her final book, Jewett lights on the dilemma of remaining in touch...

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Afterword

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pp. 229-230

The Country of the Pointed Firs signifies a future where a woman's nuturing dimension is tantamount to survival as a human species. What it does not propose is that this future take place in a female utopian realm...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 231-232

Select Bibliography

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pp. 233-240

Index

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pp. 241-246