Annotated Bibliography American Literature after Civil War
Alsudairy, H. T. (2011). Forging female tradition. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/knowledgia/ajaps/0000/29672-29672.pdf
In this article Alsudairy examined the feminist criticism through the protagonist of Edith Wharton's novel, The Custom of the Country (1913) in which the image of "new" American women in the nineteenth century was depicted truthfully. Wharton is one of the pioneers in bursting the female struggle flames into American literature. As any other women, Wharton experienced an unhappy life with an inappropriate marriage in the patriarchal society where the status of women was inferior to male' and their ambitions were confined by severe customs. Sympathizing and penetrating the women's aspiration to live in freedom as well as their sufferings, Wharton helped to raise women's voice and infuse her real life into the realistic presentation of the women's struggle in her works. In her time, American conventions did not give women equality in role, legal, economic, and sexual matters.
Even when they were respected and not exploited, they were traded as goods. Undine Sprague, the heroine in the novel, was an ambitious woman determining to achieve a position in the society. Being a smart woman, Undine knew thoroughly how women's right restricted in a limitation of society, so she considered marriage "as passport to happiness" (p.2) and the means to reach her goals. After marring and affected by "three husbands": Ralp Marvell, Raymond, and Elmer Moffatt respectively, she became rich and famous women. However, her status was not equal with men's and also regarded as "decorative playthings as dolls and idols", "a property", "proud possession" of her husbands. In spite of attempting to fulfill her ambitions, she could not avoid the male-oriented society order and still belonged to the domestic sphere. The reality of...