Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender

By Margaret Roman | Go to book overview

10
Redeemed Men

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 her wish to alienate any faction of humanity. In her intrinsic compassion, Jewett appears incapable of trading misogyny for male-hatred. While her strong women prodigiously fill the landscape of her stories, her redeemed men speckle the horizon. There are many more than appear at first glance, enough of them to make a difference in the way men are perceived. Men, too, can learn to be nurturing; it is a side of their nature as well. It will, however, be a harder task. Women, though assigned a separate sphere from male activity, are nonetheless strong and goal-oriented; they have simply lacked in many cases the opportunity to exercise this dimension. Men, on the other hand, have been under the impression that nurturing is solely the task of the weaker sex. For men to develop their nurturing ability, they will have to reject to some degree that prestigious kingdom of male power conceived as their rightful portion. Jewett can envision men who will be able to develop their long-forgotten female dimension. In her writings, she presents a group of men whose proclivity for the female sphere is emphasized. Her male characters can be emotional, intuitive, and nurturing. They espouse

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Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction - Jewett's "Housebreaker" Versus Ruskin's "Queens": Liberation from the Victorian Home and Garden 1
  • I - Escape and Denial 19
  • 2 - Adolescent Retreat 35
  • 3 - Fairy Godmothers 55
  • II - No Escape: The Acceptance of Dual Norms 63
  • 4 - Paralyzed Men 67
  • 5 - Aristocratic Women 81
  • 6 - Romance 97
  • 7 - The Standard Marriage 115
  • III - Breaking Free 131
  • 8 - Sexual Transformation 135
  • 9 - Women Unrestrained 141
  • 10 - Redeemed Men 159
  • 10 - Redeemed Men 182
  • 11 - The Postponed Marriage 183
  • 12 - "A White Heron": Symbolic Possibilities for Androgyny 197
  • 13 - Beyond Gender: The Country of the Pointed Firs 207
  • Afterword 229
  • List of Abbreviations 231
  • Select Bibliography 233
  • Index 241
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