Week 5 Section. Paper reminders Office hours/availability Midterm review sheet is on the blog Focus: Gender, Language, and Power London— The Iron Heel , What Life Means to Me Grey— Riders of the Purple Sage Dreiser— Sister Carrie , “True Art Speaks Plainly”
Midterm review sheet is on the blog
Focus: Gender, Language, and Power
London—The Iron Heel, What Life Means to Me
Grey—Riders of the Purple Sage
Dreiser—Sister Carrie, “True Art Speaks Plainly”
Crane—“The Open Boat,” “The Blue Hotel,” The Black Riders, War is Kind
What do you make of the role of the footnotes in relation to Avis Everhard’s text?
What do you make of Avis’s discussions about Ernest’s character and her gendered relations with him, as they change over time?
Avis: “I had already determined to,” I said coldly. (36)
Consider Jane’s seduction of Lassiter in Riders and how it relates to issues re: gendered control that we also see in The Iron Heel (and so many texts):
. . . But the driving passion of her religion, and its call to save Mormons’ lives, one life in particular, bore Jane Withersteen close to an infringement of her womanhood. In the beginning she had reasoned that her appeal to Lassiter must be through the senses. With whatever means she possessed in the way of adornment she enhanced her beauty. And she stooped to artifices that she knew were unworthy of her, but which she deliberately chose to employ. She made of herself a girl in every variable mood wherein a girl might be desirable. In those moods she was not above the methods of an inexperienced though natural flirt. She kept close to him whenever opportunity afforded; and she was forever playfully, yet passionately underneath the surface, fighting him for possession of the great black guns. These he would never yield to her. And so in that manner their hands were often and long in contact. The more of simplicity that she sensed in him the greater the advantage she took.
. . .
. . . Whatever the power of his deadly intent toward Mormons, that passion now had a rival, and one equally burning and consuming. Jane Withersteen had one moment of exultation before the dawn of a strange uneasiness. What if she had made of herself a lure, at tremendous cost to him and to her, and all in vain!
That night in the moonlit grove she summoned all of her courage, and, turning suddenly in the path, she faced Lassiter and leaned close to him, so that she touched him and her eyes looked up to his.
“Lassiter! . . . Will you do anything for me?”
In the moonlight she saw his dark, worn face change, and by that change she seemed to feel him immovable as a wall of stone.
Jane slipped her hands down to the swinging gun-sheaths, and, when she had locked her fingers around the huge, cold handles of the guns, she trembled as with a chilling ripple over all her body.
“May I take your guns?”
“Why?” he asked, and for the first time to her his voice carried a harsh note. Jane felt his hard, strong hands close round her wrists. It was not wholly with intent that she leaned toward him, for the look of his eyes and the feel of his hands made her weak.
“It’s no trifle—no woman’s whim—it’s deep—as my heart. Let me take them?” “Why?”
“I want to keep you from killing more men—Mormons. You must let me save you from more wickedness—more wanton bloodshed— . . . Lassiter, if you care a little for me—let me—for my sake—let me take your guns!”
As if her hands had been those of a child, he unclasped their clinging grip from the handles of his guns, and, pushing her away, he turned his gray face to her in one look of terrible realization, and then strode off into the shadows of the cottonwoods.
. . .
. . . Jane Withersteen, in fear and sorrow and doubt, came finally to believe that if she must throw herself into Lassiter’s arms to make him abide by “Thou shalt not kill!” she would yet do well. (120-22)
[NOTE: We’ll revisit Riders next week to discuss androgyny and gendered ownership.]
Consider Carrie’s relationship with Charles Drouet in Sister Carrie:
The rhetoric of those in power reinforces itself through different agents: