NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 11
Jury of Her Peers is a book that traces the development of women’s literature in the United States. These notes are taken from the book as part of the Diverse Women Writers course at Salt Lake Community College. The title of the book is taken from a short story that involves a wife killing her husband.
Ch. 11 The Golden Morrow
1912 – color was everywhere – even neckties
“Feminism” replaced the term “Woman Question”
Call for woman writers to work together
(Socialism as a woman’s cause?)
(Why is it domestic drudgery? Is it a choice issue? How are other forms of drudgery better? This is still the idea that work fulfills, makes complete, helps people to self-actualize.)
“Four primitive home industries”: childcare, cooking, housework, laundry (What about the servants that do these jobs?)
(How do you apply the idea of doing what you love to jobs like those at McDonald’s, Smith’s or any other minimum wage labor? Do people really love working behind a desk, hauling garbage or cleaning up after others?)
Mary Austin – Woman Alone
Herland – feminist and socialist; written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Utopian society run by women
Getrude Stein – convinced everyone that she was a genius.
(Elaine Showalter calls her the “Empress who had no clothes.)
Hilda Doolittle aka H.D.
(Do we not study women’s literature because of the lesbian factor? Why do we care about sexuality? Sex is interesting, mysterious, something that we don’t understand. It is the bond between two people. It brings together and tears apart. Sex is the essence of being, the reason why we exist. Yet, we ignore it, make it taboo, hide it and thus, we give it power and take that power away at the same time.)
Amy Lowell – creative, intellectual and fat; “hippopoetess”
Mary Antin – the immigrant memoir
Zitkala-Sa – Red Bird, Dakota Sioux, violinist, in two worlds while in none
Sui Sin Far – Edith Eaton, Chinese American, dual nationalities = neither
(Up to this point, women writers want to be single and free. They want to be able to choose jobs other than writing. They see work as a way to become more – when in actuality, it is the way to becoming less. Interdependence is what life is supposed to be about not independence. Someone has to be the domestic – why is it okay for your housekeeper and not for you?
Even now we are still caught in those same gender roles. If a man does stay at home, how often will his wife and/or society reprove him with the idea that she is bringing home the bacon and he is less of a man for it?)
Susan Glaspell – lived in a community of artists that became a family; wrote novels; coerced to write plays. The plays defied convention and are non-linear.
George Cram Cook was a real partner. (This may be the first positive thing said about husbands in the book.)
Glaspell wrote the short story “A Jury of Her Peers,” for which Showalter named her book.
Popular fiction and girl’s literature consisted of children’s books with spunky girls as the lead protagonist: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter.