NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 7
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. 7 The Civil War
1860s – the romanticizing of war (There were no real-time mass media images until Vietnam.)
Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” because of a woman’s helplessness in the face of war. They couldn’t fight battles; just stay home or become nurses.
(Fiona Apple and the bus in South America)
Rebecca Harding Davis – Life in the Iron Mills (like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle)
Waiting for a Verdict – filled with mixed messages (but isn’t that life?)
Louisa May Alcott – “in a shabby red dress” (It’s all about looks.) Goes to war, becomes mature; 30 year old spinster.
Age 30 was the end for women in the 1860s.
Alcott depicted Southerners as evil and Northerners as good.
Little Women language got cleaned up. (That is a shame.)
Augusta Jane Evans – Macaria survived the war; she wrote for the South. Forward thinking for women.
Discouraged and bitter about the Civil War
Writes against women intellectuals: “Your own sex will be jealous…”
Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard and Emily Dickinson defy categorization.
Stoddard did not like criticism. Her novels were poorly received, and she lacked empathy for others.
Dickinson was an innovator who reinvented poetry for America.
Martha Finley wrote the popular Elsie series.
The North encouraging women to write about the failures of war.
Elizabeth Stewart Phelps – focused in the tragedies as they related to women.
The Civil War seems to be an awakening of women in literature. They begin to write about more than just domesticity.