April 10, 2018
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I thought it was really interesting to begin this reading by directly addressing the readers. The narrator writes this Preface to not only address her readers, but to make it very clear who her intended audience is. She states that, “For the perusal of the young and thoughtless of the fair sex, this Tale of Truth is designed” (NAAL 880). The narrator makes it clear that her intended audience here is women. I was surprised by this, as our previous readings haven’t made it clear who their intended audience is, whereas this reading makes it crystal clear. The narrator even goes on to say, “I could wish my fair readers to consider it as not merely the effusion of a Fancy, but as a reality” (NAAL 880). The narrator even has a warning in her Preface, which I thought was something different as well. The narrator’s voice continues to be prominent throughout the entire piece. For example, on page 895, on the second to last paragraph, the narrator takes a pause from the story to put in her own two cents. Seeing a piece with such a strong narrator voice was different than other things we had read, and I think that’s what made this reading interesting for me.
I completely agree. This reading is very unique in this way. By the author addressing the attended reader; the reader gets a better understanding of what is being portrayed. The narrator states that “yet as it was impossible to offer a relation to the public in such an imperfect state, I have thrown over the whole a slight veil of fiction, and substituted names and places according to my own fiction.” By announcing that the places and people are fiction but the actions are true before delivering the piece the narrator builds a trust between her and the audience. For myself personally, I felt I connected even closer to the piece because of the preface. With the warning, and the added trust being received before hearing the story itself built connections and excitement for the piece to come.
[“Oh Charlotte, conscience tells me it was I, villain that I am, who first taught you the allurements of guilty pleasure; it was I who dragged you from the calm repose which innocence and virtue ever enjoy;]
This passage stood out to me because Montraville clearly reaffirms this idea of women being naturally pure and virtuous. In his mind, Montraville is the one who corrupted her, making men seem as if they are naturally sinful. I think it’s funny that Charlotte has been blamed for being unfaithful when Montraville has established this difference between purity and impurity. It would seem to me that Belcour should be the one at fault, since women are naturally innocent and men are the ones capable of perverting them.
[A tall, elegant girl looked at Montraville and blushed: he instantly recollected the features of Charlotte Temple, whom he had once seen and danced with at a ball at Portsmouth.]
I find it very interesting that Charlotte is first seen from the perspective of someone else and we don’t learn anything about her as a person until many chapters later. This is a strong move in that it defines just how prominent a role her beauty will play throughout the novel. But it’s also interesting because at this point in time a woman’s beauty, not her mind, is the most important thing about her. This story appears to have a similar opinion to that of society at this time, a woman’s job is to be seen – to be a lovely thing for others to view. Rowson defines Charlotte’s appearance through a man’s eyes long before we learn anything of her intelligence or moral character.
I also found this interesting. I think you’re correct that this is a very strong move that shows how much beauty was valued. It also shows how people felt when this novel was written. As you said, in this time, a woman’s job was to be seen, not heard. I found this to be a very bold move.
I agree. I like the fact that she is writing this for women and for that hope that some young lady, who may have no one else to turn to can be helped by her words and information. “I flatter myself, be of service to some who are so unfortunate as to have neither friends to advise, or understanding…” (NAAL 880) This drew me in more to the piece. She is not writing it for her own notoriety, she actually wants to help and shed light on the truth of the issue. It also is about women so that made it even more relatable to me.
This passage seems like a newer, updated version of the the ‘internal division’ motif that we’ve been seeing throughout the semester. Although, here, it is used to illustrate Charlotte’s indecision of going with Montraville or staying and being loyal to her parents. Despite the difference, it still utilizes the idea of sin and repentance as a means of redemption. Judging from the narrative so far, it leads me to think there is going to be a significant downfall for Charlotte.
This paragraph was full of detail and gave readers a fantastic description of one of the characters, Charlotte Temple. He inquires if Belcour had noticed her and then states that the way she looked made him feel devilish odd about the heart. This is of course something that you would never hear in today’s day and age. Devilish has two definitions, one as an adjective, “of, like, or appropriate to a devil in evil and cruelty” and one as an adverb, “very; extremely.” If one were to read it with one of these definitions in place of the word, it could read as if Montraville felt a hatred towards Charlotte or even a possible extreme love towards her.
This passage stood out to me, particularly because we get the reason as to why the narrator chooses to tell this story. Already stating the story is founded by someone else the narrator makes it known that she is concerned with what happened to Charlotte. If possible she wants to, “save one hapless fair from the errors which ruined poor Charlotte, to rescue the impending misery heart of one anxious parent” (Rowson 881). Here readers get a glimpse of the moral and ethical dilemmas that may occur throughout the story. To me, it seems the story is written as a sign of warring with details added for enjoyment. The implication is made that the events to come will be shared as an example of how to avoid those rather than to simply get a reaction out of an audience.
I agree that this paragraph gives some details to a character, but I think the main reason why she was described in this way was to bring in a feeling of attraction. In either of the definitions, that Anne gave, fascination can play a role in both. Going by the descriptions of devilish supplied; he could be so attracted to the girl that he feels evil for having the feelings or he’s so attracted to her that is causing him to hate a girl based on her looks (or in the denial of feelings).
Mr. Eldridge’s dialogue is uncanny, he presents as a wise, meandering, poetic man while he talks about the death of his wife and son. The reader has been informed to this point that the wife and son have died in an unknown manner, and left Mr. Eldridge and Charlotte in a considerable amount of debt. In this passage, Mr. Eldridge pleads his case for his need of help, and his God praising language and sometimes positive attitude may be in his service, especially since the amount his needs is so grand, five hundred pounds. The reader can also gather how important Charlotte is to Mr. Eldridge in this passage, she has not yet left him, though she seems to have other resources, and he is grateful. We also see in this passage the character of Temple, a giving man, not so wealthy as to support Mr. Eldridge, but expressing innocent kindness at this point in the story, the narrator even reflects that if a person has the will to do something, they can make anything happen.
This paragraph stands out to me because Rowson is comparing marrying for money is just as immoral prostitution. Rowson is basically saying its the same thing, by agreeing to get married and have sexual relations because the significant other is wealthy is the same thing as being a prostitute. And in her writing, uses the term “legally prostituted”. Also, Rowson predicts that all marriages for money end in splendid misery.
Here again, I think we see the impacts of Enlightenment thought in the attitudes and actions of people’s everyday lives, even fictional ones. I find Montraville’s sweeping blanket statement that he never thinks of the future but is determined to make the most of the present to be indicative of this influence. In an active rebellion against the Puritanical idea that people were “in the world yet not of it”, the Enlightenment thinkers opted to reverse that mentality and use it toward material gain, the way that Montraville is so employing it in his lust for the material things of this world, i.e. Charlotte Temple. His brazen overstatement is understandable for the times and literary style of the day, and yet the underlying assumptions he bases his assessment of Charlotte on are inherently materialistic and have fragments of Enlightenment ideals woven into them.
This paragraph interests me because it is filled with self reflection as well as reassurance towards the audience (the reader). It seems somewhat strange to preface a story with all this information (all four of these passages before the actual story have interesting ideas in them) but in a way it seems to guide the reader into the story with some knowledge about the goals of the author. The sentence that stands out to me most in this paragraph is, “but conscious that I wrote with a mind anxious for the happiness of that sex whose morals and conduct have so powerful an influence on mankind in general; and convinced that I have not wrote a line that conveys a wrong idea to the head or a corrupt wish to the heart…” It kind of makes sense that Rowson prefaces this story when looking at the subject matter. Also, the title itself serves as a preface, “A Tale of Truth”.
This was really interesting to me because of the lack of knowledge regarding mental and physical health during the time period. The state of fever and despair could be due to adrenal failure as a result of stress, physical exhaustion, or perhaps an actual illness due to a viral or bacterial infection. While pulling away from the idea that all trails are a result of Satan, the vague obscurity and confusion regarding scientific explanations about ailments, be it mental or physical, is still quite clearly a work in progress.
Data visualization for Rowson’s Charlotte.
In Marion Rust’s academic article, “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?’, Rust points out Charlotte’s indecisiveness and examines how Charlotte’s indecisive nature ultimately leads to her fall to the bottom of society. This particular paragraph is one example that Rust uses to point out Charlotte’s indecision and, in my opinion, it is the most apparent example. In this paragraph, Charlotte has received a letter from Montraville. However, as Rust points out, Charlotte can’t even decide what to do with this letter without first consulting her teacher. As Rust states, “With every moment of indecision, La Rue steps in to direct Charlotte’s path–“Read it to be sure”–and it is thus and not through any overwhelming desire of her own that Charlotte is impregnated” (Rust 102). Rust argues in her article that every point of Charlotte’s indecision can be tied to her fall from society, and this is one of those moments. Charlotte can’t decide what to do with the letter from Montraville, and looks to La Rue for direction. That same indecision seen here leads to Charlotte going to her lover to tell him that they are no more, and faints into his carriage, at which point, Rust says, “we are to assume that the fatal deed is done” (Rust 102). Rust even goes as far as to say that Charlotte’s “future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity” (Rust 102). Rust can clearly connect every small instance of Charlotte’s indecision to her fall. Even something that may seem minimal, such as, in this instance, not being able to decide what to do with a letter, ultimately plays a role in Charlotte’s fall.
For a link to Rust’s article, click here.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
In Blythe Forcey ‘s “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity,” Forcey lays out the importance of the narrator interruptions in Rowson’s Charlotte: A Tale of Truth. Forcey states that the “warm, motherly narrator” is instrumental in telling a “terrifying cautionary tale” without making her readers feel “lost or abandoned” (227). This narrator helped her first American readers “live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears…[emerging] …with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). Forcey goes on to say that, without Rowson’s interruptions, Charlotte’s “simple, quiet voice could easily have been misread or ignored” as readers (like Charlotte) might have thought her seducers’ speeches to be compelling (230). Rowson’s interventions serve as a way to convey the ultimate truth of her story, allowing her to praise or condemn certain actions without leaving the readers to guess it for themselves. Forey describes Rowson’s preface as her attempt to place herself “in the position of a ‘parental supplement’…to help girls who have not got enough help from their parents” (231). Rowson’s use of the interrupting narrator therefore allows her the cultural and filial authority to teach readers how both men and woman should act within society.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 227–233. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
Miss Eldridge “obeyed.” This is the gist of Rowson, what she stood for as a writer, a woman, and a rule breaker during her day. The text I read brought out the importance of what Rowson stood for, and her standing up for the career of writing as a woman. Rather than being in subjection to the desires of man, or simply pursuing domestic duties or following after a man as Charlotte does in this sad tale, she herself is a testament to withstanding these prior restraints placed on women. She could write about immigration and the pain and loss of this ordeal because she herself had been through it, so when she speaks of “obedience” also she knows exactly what she is referring to. The text on JSTOR brings out, “Angela Vietto argues for the importance of the “literary career” as a category analysis for women, of “examining the course writers followed in their pursuit of writing as a vocation…” Notice here too the expressly chosen use of the word “filial,” as a compliant child would kiss a parent so she devotedly here kisses her husband. Rowson stood for women to be treated with respect due to their intelligence and skill, without subjecting themselves to the whims of men.
HOMESTEAD, MELISSA J., and CAMRYN HANSEN. “Susanna Rowson’s Transatlantic Career.” Early American Literature, vol. 45, no. 3, 2010, pp. 619–654. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25800116.
Marion rust’s What’s Wrong with “Charlotte Temple?” looks through Charlotte a Tale of Truth pointing out the ‘passion’ throughout the story. Rust doesn’t only focus and the stories namesake but the other characters within this particular Rowson’s writing. She also doesn’t just point out and talk about the ‘good passion’ but how some of this ‘passion’ was forced or unknown until it was upon her; such as when Charlotte’s betrayer’s brother started lying down his her. To not leave the topic unfinished rust leads to the consequence of the ‘passion’s’ occurrence–pregnancy, indecisiveness, and refusal to take control of her life.
Rust, Marion. “what’s wrong with ‘charlotte temple?”.” The william and mary quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. Jstor, jstor, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
Within this passage, we witness the first instance of Charlotte beginning to distrust her own instincts. While at the party she was led to believe would be fun and entertaining, she realizes that being obedient and staying home would have been better than sneaking out with La Rue. As the story progresses we see Charlotte trust those instincts less and, according to Marion Rust’s article “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple'”, her behavior becomes increasingly described as some “form of collapse, in which her future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity.” This continual falling down that Charlotte experiences effectively acts to demonstrate Rowson’s commentary on the unreliability of young women’s own moral character and how they are insufficiently able to stand up to the force of external moral corruption.
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Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118.
In “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity” by Blythe Forcey, it is said that the motherly affection of the narrator is what really makes this story relatable. I found this article to be interesting because I think that it very true. I think the way that the narrator acts in a motherly way really helps the story along. Forcey states, “Early American readers were able, as they read this novel, to live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears. But, guided by the careful and caring narrative of Mrs. Rowson, they emerged safe and unscathed, with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). I think this is a very important quote because it makes you, as the reader, realize just how good of an author Susana Rowson truly was. To be able to make her readers feel safe even during a scary time, all due to the way this story is narrated. Forcey also states, “The motherly character of Rowson’s narrative voice is evident from her first addresses to the reader… Thus she offers, quite explicitly, to stand in for those ‘natural friends’ that the reader might have lost and to protect them from the horrors of the world” (228). I think this is a very important statement as well. Forcey makes it clear that even from the very first sentence of this story, Susana Rowson manages to take our hand and make us feel safe.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 225–241. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
In her article “What’s Wrong With Charlotte Temple” Marion Rust addresses Charlotte’s passions as well as her inability to make decisions and relates it to her overall fall from her position in society. Rust uses this paragraph as an example of Charlotte’s indecisiveness. Here it is exemplified that Charlotte can’t even make a simple decision on her own. She has to reach out to her mentor in order to decide what to even do with something as simple as a written letter. Rust catapults off this point by claiming that Charlotte’s future will continue to be unguided and spiral downward farther than she already has. Rust bases this claim on the idea that Charlotte will not be able to support herself because she is always looking to some one outside herself to guide her through obstacles.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
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April 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm
See in context
April 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm
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April 17, 2018 at 10:35 am
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April 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm
In Charles Brockden Brown’s article, “The Difference between History and Romance” he writes about the novel, Wieland, and the relationship that the novel has between history and romance. He explains how history and romance are intertwined and how imperfections of man are part of our future, present, and past. In this paragraph, Clara is overtaken by her senses of this man, “I count among the most extraordinary incidents of my life”. Clara is an irrational character taken over by romantic ideas. Her history and her future are based on her emotional decisions. There is no separation between the two. Brockden Brown writes, “when busy in assigning motives to actions, are not historians but romancers.” Which relates directly to what is happening to Clara in this passage. When talking about history, it is the “noting and recording of the actions of men” which I think is very important because mankind is often if not always driven by passion and emotion. This also plays well with the strong theme of passion and emotion that is current throughout Wieland and all the characters.
Barnard, Philip, and Stephen Shapiro, editors. “The Difference Between History and Romance.” Wieland or the Transformation, with Related Texts, by Charles Brockden Brown, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, pp. 195–198.
April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm
This passage is very focused on individualism, Franklin seems to be looking at the better things in his life instead of focusing on the negative. He doesn’t dwell on the idea that he wish he lived life without committing fault instead he touches on it and shifts into how he’s basically glad with how he’s lived life. In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” Steven Forde presents the idea that Franklin Autobiography should be used as a model of developing good character and morals. Franklin states, “conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”, but soon realizes that he had, “undertaken a task of more difficulty than he had imagined.” Forde believes, “each of the loopholes… is deliberate”. The loopholes represent another idea, that being that when striving for greater morality the individual must also take all aspects of life in consideration and be reasonable. Forbes introduces another idea, “If Franklin had viewed virtue more strictly, he might have been forced to give up on it”.
Forde, Steven. “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 2, 1992, pp. 357–368. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225.
April 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Andrew Scheiber’s article “The Arm Lifted against Me”: Love, Terror and the Construction of Gender in “Wieland” explores Clara’s gendered role in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Scheiber points to patterns of Clara’s marginalization and enclosure throughout the story, specifically in relation to her role in the context of the familial structure of the story’s plot. Scheiber explains that, “though the Age of Reason invites her to identify herself with the life of the mind, Clara is barred by her womanhood from fully achieving such an identification, since the gender ideology of the times defines the intellect as secondary rather than primary, to the essence of “feminine” nature” (Schieber 178) which is an interesting perspective considering the emphasis on reason and intellect throughout the story, and the fact that Clara is the primary protagonist of the story. Schieber claims that when Clara questions the audience, “was I not likewise transformed from rational and human into a creature of nameless and fearful attributes” (Brown 137) that she is exposing her “self-condemnation” that is born out of the gendered system that relates “rational” and “human” on the masculine side of gender axis, and the negation of those qualities to the feminine side of the axis.
Brown, Charles Brockden, Philip Barnard, and Stephen Shapiro. Wieland ; or the Transformation. An American Tale with Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. Print.
Scheiber, Andrew J. “‘The Arm Lifted against Me’: Love, Terror, and the Construction of Gender in ‘Wieland.’” Early American Literature, vol. 26, no. 2, 1991, pp. 173–194.
April 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm
In his article, entitled ‘Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture’, scholar Robert A. Ferguson examines the character of Rip Van Winkle in depth and identifies some of the key flaws that keep this iconic figure of early American Folklore in conversation to this day. One of the flaws identified in Ferguson’s article is the issue of drink, which is brought up in the selected paragraph. Ferguson argues that Rip’s problems with being a “naturally thirsty soul” can be attributed to and explain his lack of success in life: “Habitual drinking keeps him from the steady application that every good farm requires” (533). This explanation of Rip’s tendency to ‘bum around’ aligns to the events of the story, as well as illuminating a reason why he continues to be a influential character in American literature. According to Ferguson, “We value Rip most of all because we find something of our own foibles in him, not because we worry about drink or because we fear an encounter with Heinrich Hudson when we enter the Kaatskill Mountains. Rip’s faults…are our own bad habits carried to extremes. Irving keeps to the lighter side of these extremes” (533-534). Through the relatable aspects and complexities of Rip’s character, readers throughout the years are enabled, through Irving’s lighthearted storytelling, to return to this original American folktale with as timeless a perspective as the readers who scanned the first print-warmed lines of this work.
Ferguson, Robert A. “Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture.” Early American Literature, vol. 40, no. 3, 2005, pp. 529–544. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25057421.
April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I also really loved this line. The Earth is the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, and that gets so overlooked in our day to day struggles. Nature and death are like you said, both important parts of the cycle of life. The connection being made in these two lines applies to most of what we have studied through the semester in this class. Even the puritans had themes of nature as a part of their beliefs. Nature and death are the two things that connect humanity because no human on Earth can avoid either one of these things. We will all die and become a part of nature once more, because that is how we began the cycle.
April 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm
Throughout her essay, “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself”, Cath N. Davidson expresses the aspects which make the text so significant. She explains the strength of emotion that is brought because the narrative is told from Equiano himself. She also expresses that the non-traditional storytelling is what makes it interesting and evokes emotion throughout. Davidson ultimately points out that, “Many aspects of the text make it significant, but especially impressive is it expansive reach” (19). His story is told in many parts of the world and allows readers to feel this narrative from place to place based on his narrating abilities. For example, Equiano himself states “in the preceding chapter I have set before the reader a few of those many instances of oppression, extortion, and cruelty, which I have been a witness to in the West Indies”. As readers have been taken from place to place Equiano stops to show the places he’s been and the things he’s seen. Davidson also points out the emotion-evoking tones and voice used by Equiano. Addressing the many aspects of the text Davidson writes, The text combines (in unequal parts) slave narrative, sea yarn, military adventure, ethnographic reportage, historical fiction, travelogue, picaresque saga, sentimental novel, allegory, tall tale, pastoral origins myth, gothic romance, conversion tale, and abolitionist tract, with different features coming to the fore at different times, and the mood vacillating accordingly” (20). His slave trade journey was terrible and cruel; as readers see Equiano journey from place to place they empathize with him more and begin to realize the terrible conditions in which he was under. The narrative of Equiano become more and more effective for readers because of the places Equiano takes us and the voice he uses to evoke that emotion out of readers.
Davidson, Cathy N. “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 18–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267683.
April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm
According to William Pencak, author of “Benjamin Franklin’s Biography, Cotton Mather, and a Puritan God,” in this paragraph, Franklin is defending the stakes on which he wrote his autobiography, as well as defending his own morality. Franklin was very dedicated to his moral standing with himself and God and went through extreme measures to ensure that he would end up on the ‘right’ side of things. This particular passage is about the ‘justification of his book’ which ‘illustrates an important philosophical point: the need for ideal principles, realized in practice, to subdue “Natural Inclination,” as well as the bad effects of, “Custom and Company” (Pencak 8). The ‘artifice’ that Franklin describes represents the civilization of people that he is surrounded by and he believes that they should be informed of his knowledge, life, and commitment to God. Franklin didn’t believe that being religious meant attending church, donating to pastors, or things alike. It was about believing in God, Praying honestly, and being virtuous. Throughout this autobiography, Franklin defends and justifies his beliefs and morality.
Pencak, William. “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, COTTON MATHER, AND A PURITAN GOD.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 53, no. 1, 1986, pp. 1–25. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27773087.
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