Women, Men and Environment Term Paper

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[. . .] literature.org/authors/bronte-charlotte/jane-eyre).

Such a model of behavior is almost entirely at odds with the daily lives of pioneer women, as Schlissel presents them to us through their own accountings in their journals. And yet these women were - it is also quite clear from their accountings of their own lives - not in any way willing to give up a sense of themselves as proper women. If they were strong and independent in ways that would have marked them in Eastern society as tantamount to whores, they clung firmly to certain ideas about femininity and womanhood that they had brought with them. These pioneer women, working harder than most of us can even imagine, still took time to decorate their houses. They taught their children to read the Bible and maintained themselves as instructors in morals and religion. They worried that the hard work that they had to do would ruin their looks. They defined themselves and wives and mothers rather than as pioneers.

These women were both strong and independent, but they continued to see themselves as angels of the household, even when that household was a daub cabin surrounded by bears and wolves.

Works Cited

Gilbert, Sandra, & Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale University, 2000. http://www.literature.org/authors/bronte-charlotte/jane-eyre reasonableTurner argued that Jackson, whose stock had fallen rather considerably in the decades after his presidency, should in fact be credited with much that was essentially good - and unique - about American culture. Turner argued that much of the core of American culture is based on the fact that for the formative years of the republic the frontier reached out ever west, proving to be an equalizing force for America. With cheap land seeming to be available for ever, the West offered the chance for any American willing to work hard to be successful - or at least Turner argued.

Question Four

In what ways does Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. reject Turner's view of the frontier?

Schlesinger argued that Turner romanticized the frontier (which he certainly did) and also that he over-simplified it, seeing the settlement of the West as a homogeneous process in which not only were the motivations of all the settlers the same but that their motivations did not change over time. Schlesinger argued that the Jacksonian era was a time in which class interests were at the forefront of American politics and that those living on the frontier were in many ways similar to those who lived in the South in that both sets of Americans were wage-earners (or independent entrepreneurs, among whose ranks must be counted farmers) who saw that their interests were quite often not with wealthy business and factory owners.

Question Five

Schlissel Explain two of the main ideas of Mack Faragher research about the West.

One important point that Faragher emphasizes is that the Euro-Americans settlers were far less independent than later mythopoeic versions of their stories would have us believe. They were following quite often in the path of other white settlers and almost always in the path of Native Americans. Moreover, they were also following an ancient tradition of migration that extends back past the beginning of humanity to our Homo erectus (and even earlier) past. If movement into a frontier defines people, than it defines all peoples, not just Americans. A related second point is that many of those who went West were slaveholders - not our modern-day image of the heroic, lone settler.

Question Six

Does his research support the frontier as a symbol of democracy?

Faragher's research certainly does not produce an idealized image of the frontier producing an idyllic democracy in the same way that Turner's vision did. However, as problematic as many aspects of life were on the frontier, we must in fact accept it as a symbol of American democracy. Not the pretty, Hallmark version of it, but the real version of it - the kind of democracy that we have now in which people don't vote, the man who wins the popular vote doesn't sit in the White House and judges are picked for political reasons. The frontier is a symbol of the challenges and perils of democracy as well as its fleeting, but precious, victories.

Works Cited

Guthrie, A.B. The Big Sky. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. http://www.literature.org/authors/bronte-charlotte/jane-eyre

Schlissel, Lillian. Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey. New York: Schocken, 1992. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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