Charlotte Temple, by Susanna Rowson

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Subsequent to her examination of Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple, Jill E. Anderson infers that the novel resembles a woman’s captivity narrative. In fact, she compares Rowson’s novel to the spiritual autobiography of Mary Rowlandson, stating that both authors “recognize the challenges faced by women in their respective periods and engage in the doubled discourse of confirming the patriarchy and fighting within or against it” (Anderson 431). The correlation between genres suggests that Charlotte Temple coincides with an advocacy for women’s rights This is not an innovative revelation. Since the American edition was published in 1794, the majority of scholars have categorized Charlotte Temple as an advocate for sexual equality. Indeed, during the eighteenth century, the voices of American women were largely drowned out by those of their male counterparts. Paul Barton maintains that Rowson detested this oppression. He argues that by favoring the narrative structure over the epistolary, she was able to mimic a Puritan minister, “a commanding and influential position reserved for men alone” (Barton 27). Contemporary criticism has expanded the perception of Charlotte Temple as a feminist work. Marion Rust scrutinizes the personality of Charlotte and boldly proclaims that Rowson’s novel is “not really a novel of seduction” (Rust 103). Rather, she asserts that it was hesitancy, not infatuation, which causes Charlotte’s demise. Rust’s assessment stems from the fact that men found obedience to be a desirable female quality during the eighteenth century. And, according to feminists, society during that time was designed for the pleasure and benefit of men alone. While Feminist criticism works well with Charlotte Temple, I would argu... ... middle of paper ... ...otte Temple: A Closet Feminist's Strategy in an American.” Women and Language 23.1 (2000): 26-32. MLA International Bibliography. George Mason University. Web. 27 Oct. 2010. Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punishment: The Birth of the Prison. London: Vintage, 1995. Print. Holtzman, D. Privacy Lost: How Technology is Endangering your Privacy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print. Marx, Karl. The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. New York: International Publishers, 1964. Print. New American Bible. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1992. Print. Rowson, Susanna. Charlotte Temple. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Print. Rust, Marion. “What's Wrong with Charlotte Temple?” The Williams and Mary Quarterly 60.1 (2003): 99-118. MLA International Bibliography. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Web. 27 Oct. 2010.

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