Louise-Marie Compain became a prominent feminist quite suddenly in 1903 with the publication of her first novel, L'Un vers l'autre ( One Toward the Other). 1 The novel explores love and equality in marriage by focusing on a young, newly married girl ( Laure Prevel) who expects to live a full and happy life as her husband's ( Henri Deborda) equal and companion (see the excerpt on marriage in part 5).
The excerpt given here comes from the end of L'Un vers l'autre. Laure has refused to live in a marriage of servitude and has therefore set out to obtain economic independence. She obtains her teaching diploma and goes to work in a normal (teacher-training) school. There she finds a friend in the principal, Germaine Lachaud. Germaine approves of Laure's decision and supports her in her new career. In this excerpt, Germaine describes her own development as a teacher and as a woman-her ideals and the difficulties she has undergone. Her discussion of "preparing a new race of women" clearly shows why the novel was a feminist sensation.