Widows as the Only “Free Moral Agents”

Catherine Oglesby

in Corra Harris and the Divided Mind of the New South

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032474
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038728 | DOI:
Widows as the Only “Free Moral Agents”

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This chapter discusses Harris's ideas about the role of women as seen in the characters of her novels. Often she venerated domestic tradition in the popular press and blamed and condemned women for straying from the security of domesticity, yet in some of her fictions she disclosed a marked uncertainty and equivocation on the traditional roles of women. Several of Harris's female characters with whom she clearly identified were women who did not celebrate traditional roles and resisted in subtle ways the prescribed and traditional role of women. Some of her characters reveal a clear feminist insight while others reflect confusion on gender identity. This chapter examines six characters from her novels: Jessica Doane inThe Jessica Letters, Mary Thompson and Sal Prout in A Circuit Rider's Wife, Sylvia Story in The Recording Angel, and Miriam Ambrose, and Millicent, the narrator, in The Widow Ambrose.

Keywords: role of women; novels; female characters; traditional roles; gender identity; feminist; women

Chapter.  6801 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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