"A Romance Of The Republic" By Lydia Maria Child.

1267 words - 5 pages

A Romance of the Republic, written by Lydia Maria Child, is an intriguing novel whichreflects certain predominant 19th-century views about racism, patriarchy, and class status. Oneaspect of this story that is unique is the constant use of a flower motif, through which the readeris drawn into a Paradise that is fantastically created, an Eden that is not limited in its range ofvision due to the wealth, class, nationality, and color of its individuals, but rather embracesthe many hues and varieties of life that any beautiful and perfect garden must possess. Althoughone could argue that this utopia is never obtainable, Ms. Child successfully demonstrates that asociety can be egalitarian, not constructed on class consciousness and struggle, but rather basedon the framework of the Constitution, which states that all people are created equal, with unityfor all being the ultimate goal. These beliefs in equality are demonstrated through the strategicuse of class where the aristocratic faction should not have more value than their lower classcounterpoints. They are also reflected in the novel's use of racial crossing, where many varietiesof people, including the pivotal octoroon sisters, Rosa and Flora, can have many potential colorsand racial identities. Finally, the egalitarian beliefs are evidenced in cultural differences, where asociety can only evolve into a more splendid creation when it derives sustenance from manygroups and resources.The fact that this book deals with the aristocracy at all turns presents an excellentsummation on the beliefs that money and prestige are not always used just for the purpose ofkeeping the lower classes down, but can be used for the good of all peoples if the wealthy arewilling to share their good fortune. The characters of Mr. King, Mr. Blumenthal, and Mrs.Delano were all very wealthy members of the highest social class; they also loved the twooctoroon would-be slave girls, Rosa and Flora, with a deep love that transcended any socialhierarchy. They were opposed by equally prestigious members of the elites through thecharacters of Mr. Bell, Mr. Fitzgerald, and the Widow Fitzgerald, all of whom valued socialstanding and southern slave laws far above the worth of human beings. This is furtherdemonstrated when Mr. Bell found out that his deceased son-in-law, Mr. Fitzgerald, had fathereda child with a slave woman, Rosa. That child had been switched with Mr. Bell's grandson andwas consequently being raised as the heir to the Bell fortune. Mr. Bell's response was not tothink of rescuing his real grandson from slavery, but to hide the truth because he believed that itwould not be appropriate for "a merchant of his standing to leave his property to negroes" (393).When the Widow Fitzgerald was apprized of the same incident, and realized that the boy shehad raised was not her son, her first response was to keep it quiet because it would place her in"an embarrassing position before the world" (362). These two individuals were not...

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