Middle-class identity and corporeal attachments in The Wide, Wide World

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Authors
Dejmal, Rachel
Issue Date
2015-12
Type
Thesis
Language
en_US
Keywords
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Alternative Title
Abstract

Early nineteenth century industrialization and capitalism stimulated growth in public labor forces and consumer markets. Though largely conceived as a male-centered history, industrialization upended the lives of women; who, acting as producers and consumers, established themselves as integral components of the capitalist system. In response to this social metamorphosis, white middle-class ideologies - such as the cult of true womanhood, sentimentalism, and the cult of domesticity - emerged to preserve feminine sensibilities and purity from the cruelties and corruption of the consumer market. In her wildly popular sentimental novel The Wide, Wide World, published in 1850, Susan Warner disseminates domestic, sentimental ideologies and explores the perversity of the capitalist world. Warner's young orphaned protagonist, Ellen Montgomery, exposes the particulars of female consumption and white, middle-class, female labor. Warner ultimately places Ellen on the margins of the economic world as an invisible domestic laborer with imperfect male-regulated access to consumer markets. Men dominate both the domestic and economic spheres, and the definition white middle-class manhood emerges in tandem with the definition of "true womanhood." Warner actualizes the subversive potential of the novel by exposing the economic subjection and the domestic regulation of women by the male-hegemonic systems that define and commodify womanhood.

Description
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English
Citation
Publisher
Wichita State University
License
Rachel Dejmal
Copyright 2015 Rachel Dejmal
Journal
Volume
Issue
PubMed ID
DOI
ISSN
EISSN