In a land where human society barely existed, the private space of her secluded home became a prison:.
The Twelve (The Passage, #2) by Justin Cronin
Shut up in my narrow house, with the interests and sympathies which had been wont to embrace classes, communities, humanity, chilled and driven back upon myself; unable to approach the social life about me in the way of co-operation or enjoyment, or individuals in the relation of serving or aiding […] I was, most of all unhappy in finding myself circumscribed in all action to my small family circle and my private interests.
This passage, which sheds light on the intricate intersections between the public and the private, redefines the notion of home. In the same way as a world with no homes was likely to degenerate into a masculine jungle, a home cut off from the public sphere could shrink into a prison cell. Each had helped on my interior life. Are not the internal experiences of like natures like, under all external circumstances, however various?
My Passage to Womanhood - Volume-Eight - Part-Two-of-Three by Clare Penne
Do not the truly good truly advance in their own souls? Thus, the mixed population, the evolution of San Francisco, the widespread corruption in morals and politics, and gold mining are documented in a series of shorter chapters where the subjective narrator is replaced by the voice of a witness, reporter or travel guide.
The recurrence of the first-person plural actually operates like an inclusive and exclusive force that creates an illusion of cohesion while keeping the contours of the narrating subject undefined. While the bountiful nature is conceived as a gift of God, the cities and the mining towns are depicted as hellish places where language, manners, and social relations have degenerated into swearing, violence and selfish individualism Farnham, Bar rooms thronged and drunkenness was a rampant vice that contaminated even the children Chinese emigration is curiously absent from her report, which essentially focuses on the different types of European and American migrants in ways that both qualify and reinforce stereotypes.
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Farnham treats them with mixed feelings of contempt and pity, highlighting their simple-heartedness, laziness, lack of ambition as well as cleanliness , , America is young and strong; […] Her civilization, springing from Saxon energy, Protestant Christianity, and social, political and religious liberty, has in it elements of durability never before combined. The centuries […] have witnessed no event so significant to the nations as its development under a free government.
The lessons in political and religious freedom learned here will be remembered and repeated beneath the palm trees of India—in the tea-fields of China—among the frozen snows of Russia—in the saloons of the proudest cities of Europe, where dotard monarchy yet hugs his shivering members together—[…] What hopes are awakening in these years! Farnham already saw many signs of this new era in the tangible progress that she had noticed over the seven years she spent in California. Thus, she noted the diminution of gambling houses, the decline in alcohol consumption, the development of social and educational institutions, and mostly, she felt confident that, once the gold fever had died down, the fertile lands of California would materialize the Jeffersonian dream of a great agrarian republic peopled by virtuous farmers.
It is not by chance that the passages describing farming far outnumber those that she somewhat reluctantly devotes to gold mining. Farnham relates the conflict that opposed the Vigilance Committee to the governor of California and she gives her undivided support to the action of the Committee, lauding the nobility, courage and self-restraint of its members, whom she implicitly compares to the Founding Fathers of California.
Through several anecdotes , in particular in the chapter narrating the emigration of the Donner Party that stages the heroic selflessness of a mother 20 —and implicitly through her own story—the author glorifies womanhood. The book is finally an invitation to martyrdom:.
Come to the country which is the home of those you are bound to adhere to and save, […] I say to my countrywomen that if they have the natures which can pass unscathed through the furnace seven times heated, every sentiment of duty binds them to follow here, […] one suffers with so much more firmness when one feels that good flows from it—though it be to the antipodes. We feel the pains only of our own.
The book ends with a vision of redeemed California reminiscent of her initial mystical experience upon discovering the Santa Cruz landscape:. When society shall have struck its roots into Californian soil […] [t]hen the benign summer heavens will smile upon hearts tranquil enough to expand beneath them into charity and love—free enough to be penetrated by the exquisite harmony of the material world—then the glorious hills and teeming vales will be dotted with homes where plenty reigns […] A country so clothed with majesty […] must have a hopeful destiny.
Also, porosity between indoor and outdoor spaces may be infectious or healing, constructive or destructive. BAYM, Nina. Women Writers of the American West. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, New Haven: Yale University Press, Edward T. Cathy N. Davidson and Jessamyn Hatcher.
The Twelve (Book Two of the Passage Trilogy): A Novel Summary & Study Guide Description
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