NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 14
Jury of Her Peers is a book that traces the development of women’s literature in the United States. These notes are taken from the book as part of the Diverse Women Writers course at Salt Lake Community College. The title of the book is taken from a short story that involves a wife killing her husband.
Ch. 14 The Great Depression
Pearl Buck – lived in and wrote about China; The Good Earth
Margaret Mitchell – racist, southern belle; psychosomatic and rea illnesses; Gone with the Wind paralleled what was going on with America in the 1930s.
Nathanael West alludes to Willa Cather and others when he writes in Miss Lonelyhearts “what they all needed was a good rape.” (He could get away with that in 1933?)
Commercial fiction vs. art
Women went and experienced things as journalists. They were also given the “frou frou” stuff.
Ernest Hemingway was at the top in the 1930s.
Abortions increased to become “normal.”
Meridel Le Sueur – politically left
Tess Slesinger – organized the Screen Writers Guild
Tillie Olsen – “Family interrupts female writer.”
Genevieve Taggard – socialist; women’s issues, party lines, poverty lines
Josephine Herbst – entrapment of the dutiful daughter; sister died of batched abortion at Herbst’s advice.
Abortion huge at this time
Katherine Anne Porter – devfious, gifted, sexually active, not a nice person
Anais Nin – female creativity
Zora Neale Hurston – black author who stayed out of the boxes of color and gender
Tragic book and tragic life
Lillian Hellman – antifascist blacklisted as a communist; wrote a play about lesbianism that now seems dated because of “changes” in public attitudes. (Really?) “The scourge of capitalism” ended up in an ad for mink coats.
The Little Foxes – patriarchy infantilizes women or makes them hard and ruthless
1930s – radio soap opera featured women of strength in the face of male weakness.
Laura Ingalls Wilder