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By Peter Stoneley

Why did the determine of ''the girl'' come to dominate the yankee mind's eye from the center of the 19th century into the 20 th? Peter Stoneley seems at how girls have been fictionalized for the woman reader as methods of accomplishing a strong social and cultural presence. protecting a variety of works and writers, this e-book is of curiosity to cultural and literary students.

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Example text

Writing for children had feminized overtones, in that it was a “motherly” activity, and so allowed women to be in business without losing their status as ladies. This would change as the literary profession itself, and especially the magazines, became more business-like. ” But at the same time, the market value of the magazines depended on their value as icons of gentility. Owners had to take advantage of the new commercial environment while also maintaining a reputation for seeing beyond the profit motive.

In An Old-Fashioned Girl, on the other hand, Polly remains an untroubled and obedient child, even as she becomes an adult. She has no dramatic or otherwise “gothic” impulses, and she manages to by-pass the tumults that afflict other girl-characters. Fanny is the adolescent in An Old-Fashioned Girl, and through the Polly–Fanny dichotomy, Alcott seems to imply that the troubled and incoherent phase of growing up was produced by a modern, metropolitan upbringing. Also, although the regionalist dimension is apparent, there is none of the rich ambivalence that we associate with good regionalist fiction (and that we will find in other girls’ fiction).

In her fiction, she managed these tensions by finding safe, semi-private ways to celebrate display. This is most obvious in the way that the sisters love to dress up for their various theatricals. Within an earnest and moralized ethos, there is also a pleasure in sumptuary splendour. This also introduces a valuable performative element to her characters’ lives. In their writing and their dramatic productions, the March sisters create a series of alternative imaginative spaces. Their playfulness deals in an untrammelled possibility that is at odds with the rigid codes that they must follow in their daily lives.

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