Writing the Trail : Five Women's Frontier Narratives
For a long time, the American West was mainly identified with white masculinity, but as more womenOCOs narratives of westward expansion came to light, scholars revised purely patriarchal interpretations. Writing the Trail continues in this vein by providing a comparative literary analysis of five frontier narratives---Susan MagoffinOCOs Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico, Sarah RoyceOCOs A Frontier Lady, Louise ClappeOCOs The Shirley Letters, Eliza FarnhamOCOs California, In-doors and Out, and Lydia Spencer LaneOCOs I Married a Soldier---to explore the ways in which womenOCOs responses to the western environment differed from menOCOs. Throughout their very different journeys---from an eighteen-year-old bride and self-styled OC wandering princessOCO on the Santa Fe Trail, to the mining camps of northern California, to garrison life in the Southwest---these women moved out of their traditional positions as objects of masculine culture. Initially disoriented, they soon began the complex process of assimilating to a new environment, changing views of power and authority, and making homes in wilderness conditions. Because critics tend to consider nineteenth-century womenOCOs writings as confirmations of home and stability, they overlook aspects of womenOCOs textualizations of themselves that are dynamic and contingent on movement through space. As the narratives in Writing the Trail illustrate, womenOCOs frontier writings depict geographical, spiritual, and psychological movement. By tracing the journeys of Magoffin, Royce, Clappe, Farnham, and Lane, readers are exposed to the subversive strength of travel writing and come to a new understanding of gender roles on the nineteenth-century frontier."
- Electronic book text | 171 pages
- 14 May 2014
- University of Iowa Press
- Iowa City, United States