The Values, Ideals, And Actions Of Fanny Fern

1178 words - 5 pages

The Values, Ideals, and Actions of Fanny Fern

    Literature from the 1820âs to the 1860âs brought attention to the expanse of the American experience and gave rise to many unique voices. Some of the best writers of this era challenged their fellow citizens to live up to the ideals that the founding fathers had written into America's sacred documents. The voices that cast these challenges are as varied and wide spread in their approach as this nation's natural boundaries are diverse. Fanny Fern (1811-1872), was one of the writers who made a big splash with her fearless unconventionality during this literary renaissance. Her masterful use of satire and her belief that the ideal of individualism should include women, gained her enormous popularity and doomed her chances of being included in the American literary canon for over a century.


Fanny Fernâs real name was Sarah Payson Willis Parton, but she used the pseudonym in all her legal affairs and with members of her family. Similar to Mark Twain in the sense that the pen names became more closely associated with the writers than their real names, Fern, like Twain, wrote satirical essays, sketches, and novels about the shortcomings of American society. For twenty-one years Fern reminded people that America needed to work on it problems with literature, education, prisons, prostitution, venereal disease, family planning, divorce, education, child rearing, and rights for women. Her unflinching, yet female perspective gained her enormous popularity. Although Fern did not completely abandon traditional womenâs topics like love, marriage, and children, the most far-reaching issues that she addressed were economic independence for women and the need for improvements in domestic life (Warren 288). As a widowed mother whose relatives griped about helping her financially, Fern experienced the struggle and hypocrisy that women without good jobs had to face. She recorded her personal experiences in a autobiographical novel titled Ruth Hall. Like the heroine in her novel, Fern overcame the poverty that her widowhood created by writing articles for local newspapers. In a Franklinian fashion she rose from rags to riches.


When Fern embarked on her writing career, she was criticized for her style and subjects. According to N.P. Willis, Fernâs brother, Fernâs writing was vulgar and·the style was noisy·(White 2037). Some of this criticism remains relevant today. Although many readers consider Fernâs style as human and spontaneous, some are bothered by all the italics, dashes, and exclamation points. Fernâs allusions can also be confusing or dated as in "Peeps from under a Parasol" (Fern 270). According to Joyce W. Warrenâs editing, "Peeps", a four and a half page essay, required nineteen explanatory notes! The majority of the criticism Fern received from her contemporaries was aimed at her behavior and voice as an "unwomanly" writer. As a woman she was·not supposed to be angry or satirical...

Find Another Essay On The Values, Ideals, and Actions of Fanny Fern

The Unethical and Illegal actions of Enron.

1554 words - 6 pages role of every CEO to ensuresound ethical practices are enforced from the top down. Ethics are behaviors andguidelines for employee's actions. It is a moral guide for conducting and engaging inday-to-day business. In a sense, it is doing what is right. The leaders mustdemonstrate to all employees what ethics is all about in the business environment"(p.189). This statement has lasting implications and is the foundation upon whichmany businesses

The Conflict between Truth and Ideals in "Heart of Darkness"

1200 words - 5 pages The Conflict between Truth and Ideals in "Heart of Darkness"The story "Heart of Darkness", by Joseph Conrad, is concerned as much with the journey into the "darkness" of man's soul as it is with the literal journey into unknown lands. The protagonist, Marlow, describes the moral dilemmas that outweigh the physical ones to his confidantes upon his return to England. Propelled by a lifelong curiosity over the "blank" spaces of the Congo, Marlow

Comparison of Dylan Thomas' Fern Hill and Robert Frost's Birches

2273 words - 9 pages Comparison of Dylan Thomas' Fern Hill and Robert Frost's Birches Poets often use nature imagery to comment on the relationship between humans and the natural environment surrounding them. Traditionally, this relationship is portrayed in a positive manner as it places emphasis on the concept that nature is representative of beauty; consequently

Keats’ Love for Fanny Brawne in The Eve of St. Agnes

1240 words - 5 pages Keats’ Love for Fanny Brawne in The Eve of St. Agnes “For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain” –John Keats to Fanny Brawne (Bate 538). As the colloquial phrase goes…behind every

The Ideals of the Gettysburg Address

802 words - 4 pages On November 19th, 1863, about 15,000 people were gathered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was a small town back then, with only about 2,400 people living there. In July of that year, thousands of soldiers had been killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. 17 acres of land was purchased to create a cemetery to bury the soldiers. Those 15,000 people were there to attend the dedication of the cemetery. Many people had been invited to come and

The Ideals of a Creative Man

1405 words - 6 pages Since the death of Walt Disney, the values and morals of the Disney company have changed completely, the evidence portrayed within their films. As the film industry itself has evolved, so too has the field of animation, not just in the style of art, but also in the actions of the characters within these films including the increasing content of disrespectful and inappropriate behavior, violence and even sexual innuendo. One may ask themselves

The Classification and Hierarchy of Values

4841 words - 19 pages The Classification and Hierarchy of Values ABSTRACT: I attempt to look into the issue of the ranks of values comprehensively and progressively. Anti-values can be classified into the following six categories by ascending order: (1) the act of destroying the earth-of annihilating humankind and all other living organisms; (2) the act of mass killing of people by initiating a war or committing treason; (3) the act of murdering or causing death

The Effects and Values of Rock Music

1864 words - 7 pages What value, if any, does music have? If any values do exist, are they positive or negative ones? Renowned author Allan Bloom (1987), a professor of philosophy, believes that listening to rock music has a negative effect and has harmed the youths of America. He claims that rock music has no value whatsoever, except a negative influence. A majority of society today has grown up listening to some form of rock whether it b the likes of ?50?s

"DEMOCRACY: Democratic government and democratic ideals" A general overview of democracy, the contemporary understanding of democracy with reference to governmental issues and democratic ideals.

2265 words - 9 pages at the next election. The opposition takes the opportunity at every important debate of showing where it stands and what it would try to do if it were in power." (Raphael, 1990:91)Other than the practices of minority, there are also some devices that serve as a balance system in democracy. According to Dahl, bounded with democratic ideals these devices are what distinguishes democracy:- "Elected officials": Control over government decisions about

Senseless actions of the previous and current society

548 words - 2 pages Hello everybody. Today I hope to shed some light on some facts about life that go unnoticed in our everyday activities. Things that we do almost everyday, but we don’t know whether they make sense or not. My topic is on the senseless actions of the previous and current society.Let me analyse this fact now. First of all, I don't understand the whole concept of why would someone want somebody else's name printed on their undergarments? People

Actions and Effects of Creatine

1915 words - 8 pages Actions and Effects of Creatine Throughout time, humans have had a fascination with being excellent at what they do, and athletics have been no exception. Many substances exist, and many have been criticized and analyzed for their safety, legality, and morality for athletes. With the banning of steroids from competitive sports, and the implementation of random drug testing in most sports, most athletes, professional

Similar Essays

How Does Marlowe's "Faustus" Test The Older Religious System Of Values And The New Humanist Ideals.

1924 words - 8 pages David NorrisENGL 210Mr. Michael Griffith20 April 2007Research Essay: Question OneMarlowe's Faustus tests the older religious system of values and the new humanist ideals. Each offered a uniquely different path in which one should best to follow or lead their particular life. The play is a fine example of a hybridized work that draws on both the strengths and weaknesses from each school of thought. In the essay The Defense of Poesy published nine

Fanny Price: The Heroine Of Mansfield Park

1516 words - 6 pages purveyor of reason, the power which places those images before the mind upon which the judgment is to be exercised," (De Rose 269). It can now be determined that Fanny Price is neither passive, weak, or boring. She is a woman with outstanding moral values and silent strength that is ideally rewarded for her personal sacrifices. Fanny and Edmund live happily ever after, but Mary and Henry receive their just deserts. Mary is forced to give up Edmund and Henry must give up his mistress. It can also be determined that charm, wit, and beauty do not create a hero, it is morality, discipline, and the depth of character that make a true hero.

A Comparison Of Blake's "The Lamb" And Thomas' "Fern Hill"

930 words - 4 pages inexperience, since the situation of a child talking to an animal is a believable one. "Fern Hill", although written in a more mature form, gives the audience a clear feeling of the emotions being felt and of the actions being played out in the poem. The poem is full of color and nature. Green reinforces the image of Thomas' youth and joy at being on his farm in the spring and summer. The sun, grass and hay also give us ideas of specific scenery. In

Battle Of Ideals: Usa And The Borderlands

2419 words - 10 pages this cold battle of ideals. This seemingly endless conflict with Russia and the issues of foreign policy that come with it has been going on for almost a century and has its roots as far in the original Russian Empire and vines into much of the world and modorn history as we know it. Both Russia and America were expansionist nations with messianic complexes, and the many people from both nations believed they possessed a unique mission in