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Little Women (part 2).docx

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Natalie Rose

ENGB35 Feb 4, 2013 Radical separation of spheres: male vs. female  March house – all female  Laurence house – all male “„Why, you see I often hear you calling to one another, and when I'm alone up here, I can't help looking over at your house, you always seem to be having such good times. I beg your pardon for being so rude, but sometimes you forget to put down the curtain at the window where the flowers are. And when the lamps are lighted, it's like looking at a picture to see the fire, and you all around the table with your mother. Her face is right opposite, and it looks so sweet behind the flowers, I can't help watching it. I haven't got any mother, you know.‟ And Laurie poked the fire to hide a little twitching of the lips that he could not control. […]Laurie was sick and lonely, and feeling how rich she was in home and happiness, she gladly tried to share it with him.‟”  Laurie is entranced by feminine domesticity  Hearth = center of home  Contrast between warm, loving female sphere and cold patriarch sphere  Richness of female life – validating domesticity o validating it by using public sphere word „rich‟ in regards to domestic joy o Men are supposed to be portrayed as monetarily rich while women are monetarily poor so must make up for it with domestic richness.  Masculine need for female support “[Meg] had not yet learned to know how rich she was in the blessings which alone can make life happy”  Again, needed to learn the richness of domestic life not material goods “[Meg] felt how rich she had been in things more precious than any luxuries money could buy in love, protection, peace, and health, the real blessings of life.”  Validation of female sphere Radical: Sentimental novel attempts to reorient culture to and from a feminine perspective. (Jane Tompkins)  But see the critique of sentimental ideas in „Good Wives‟ ENGB35 Feb 4, 2013 Conservative: maintains separate spheres governed by biology (domestic sphere = feelings = women) Meg’s Story „Meg Goes to Vanity Fair‟  They “turned Meg into a fine lady. They crimped and curled her hair, they polished her neck and arms with some fragrant powder, touched her lips with coralline salve to make them redder, and Hortense would have added `a soupcon of rouge', if Meg had not rebelled. They laced her into a sky-blue dress, which was so tight she could hardly breathe and so low in the neck that modest Meg blushed at herself in the mirror.”  “The `queer feeling' did not pass away, but she imagined herself acting the new part of fine lady and so got on pretty well, though the tight dress gave her a side- ache, the train kept getting under her feet, and she was in constant fear lest her earrings should fly off and get lost or broken. She was flirting her fan and laughing at the feeble jokes of a young gentleman who tried to be witty, when she suddenly stopped laughing and looked confused, for just opposite, she saw Laurie. He was staring at her with undisguised surprise, and disapproval also, she thought, for though he bowed and smiled, yet something in his honest eyes made her blush and wish she had her old dress on.”  “[Y]ou look so grown-up and unlike yourself, I'm quite afraid of you, he said; I don't like fuss and feathers.”  “They are making a fool of that little girl. I wanted you to see her, but they have spoiled her entirely. She's nothing but a doll tonight.” o Clothes that make a lady are very uncomfortable. They are not worth having to have such discomfort
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