Housekeeping
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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 l.jpg

Housekeeping

Looking after the house: the home as individual

Cleanliness

Ritual, nostalgia: “keepsake”

Family: defined by and through the home


Permanence and transience l.jpg
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


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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


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“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.


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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.


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Crazy Aunt Sylvie

  • The Fantasy Parent

  • Thoughts are Elsewhere

  • Unconventional History

  • Unconventional Life

  • Unconventional Housekeeper


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The Lucky Children

  • Negotiate a world without rules

  • Girls grow apart

  • Ruthie becomes Sylvie

  • Convention asserts itself


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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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