Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Coquette Essay -- Literary Analysis, Hannah Webster Foster

The Coquette, written by Hannah Webster Foster in 1797, chronicles the life of an affluent woman in the 18th century. There are a few themes that are presented throughout the whole novel: correspondence, sexual freedom, and ideal womanhood. Elizabeth Whitman has been an icon of American history since the 19th century because of her bravery and contempt for the caged position of women in society. It is stated that the tombstone of Elizabeth Whitman is a popular tourist attraction; â€Å"her grave was a popular destination for New England travelers, who beat paths to the far corner of Danvers’s Old South Cemetery through the entire nineteenth century.† (Waterman) The Coquette was loosely based on the story of Elizabeth Whitman, born in 1752 and dead in 1788. Women were typically not objects of novels because women were not deemed important by society, therefore it is surprising when a novel about a woman becomes very popular among the general public. The Coquette was advertised as a dime novel in the late 17 and early 1800s but come the turn of the 21st century, it is one of the most popular novels about women’s liberation and sexual freedom. Since The Coquette is based on true events, there must be a primary or credible secondary source; in this case, the epistolary novel was compiled using themes from the original letters written by Elizabeth Whitman. There were only 15 letters that remain of the correspondence between Elizabeth Whitman and Joel Barlow that exist in the Baldwin Family Papers. (Waterman) In her novel The Romance of the Association, Caroline Wells Healy Dall had to personally contact the Baldwin family in order to review the original letters. This is why correspondence is so important in novels of this time period. ... ...est stick since she lost her life and her reputation, the two most important things to her. However I would argue that the punishments were the same, Sanford lost the two most important things to him as well, Eliza and his money. Depending on one’s view point, it may be better to die than to live without the love of your life. Works Cited Castiglione, Balclesar. "The Book of the Coutier ." Castiglione, Balclesar. The Third Book. London: Norton & Company, 1523. 147-187. Elizabeth Whitman Grave. Peabody, n.d. Photograph. Foster, Hanna Webster. The Coquette. Oxford University Press, 1797. ebook. Waterman, Bryan. "Coquetry and Correspondence in Revolutionary-Era: Reading Elizabeth Whitman’s Letters." Early American Literature (2011): 541-563. Wenska Jr., Walter P. "The Coquette AND THE AMERICAN DREAM OF FREEDOM." Early American Literature (1977): 243-256.

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