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Housekeeping. Looking after the house: the home as individual Cleanliness Ritual, nostalgia: “keepsake” Family: defined by and through the home. Permanence and Transience. Tragedy intimately tied to family Tragedy points to without explaining family relationships

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Presentation Transcript
housekeeping

Housekeeping

Looking after the house: the home as individual

Cleanliness

Ritual, nostalgia: “keepsake”

Family: defined by and through the home

permanence and transience
Permanence and Transience
  • Tragedy intimately tied to family
  • Tragedy points to without explaining family relationships
  • Permanence of the home and kin: suggests that stability only possible in relation to domestic life
coming of age
Coming of Age
  • Ruthie and Lucille: raised by “family”
  • Family itself impermanent and changing
  • Plot of the family largely missing from the novel.
  • Domestic narrative for women: childhood; courtship; marriage; children, parenting
family values
“Family Values”
  • Most contested social issue in America today
  • Family: the source of America’s moral strength
  • Family perceived to be under attack, to be eroding; family needs to be protected, to be strengthened.
  • Women, woman’s agency: at the center of this debate.
domestic ideology today
Domestic Ideology Today
  • Women best able to do the work of the home
  • Work of the home at once undervalued and overvalued
  • Home is about safety, protection, nurture, intimacy of family members.
  • Woman’s abandonment of the home: rejection of those values, and of the social order they sustain.
crazy aunt sylvie
Crazy Aunt Sylvie
  • The Fantasy Parent
  • Thoughts are Elsewhere
  • Unconventional History
  • Unconventional Life
  • Unconventional Housekeeper
the lucky children
The Lucky Children
  • Negotiate a world without rules
  • Girls grow apart
  • Ruthie becomes Sylvie
  • Convention asserts itself
american ordinary
American Ordinary
  • Celebrates the ordinary lives of domestic America
  • Places the home in relation to the wilderness, and the frontier
  • Imagines the role of women outside of the home
  • Self-Realization at the Heart of American national identity
  • Anti-conventionalism of America
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