People’s mind in early America was full with positive ideals. These ideals gave way to a very interesting creative period in early American novels. These novels promote moral behaviors and at the same time they recognized the social constrains of the times. The term naive played a very important role in these novels and also increase the popularity of these cautionary novels during this period. Two very important authors of this time Susanna Rowson and William Wells Brown utilized this concept in their novels, Charlotte Temple and The Power of sympathy. The term naive is feature in these novels by illustrating the mistakes of the main characters with the sole intention of trying to raise awareness on how educating the mind of the reader could prevent them from reaching the same fate as these characters.
The following quote, illustrate what was consider by Brown as appropriate literature for women at this time “ I would describe the human mind as an extensive plain... If the course of the river be properly directed, the plain will be fertilized… and cultivated to advantage; but if it books, which are the sources that feed this river, rush into it from every quarter, it will overflow its banks, and the plain will become inundated: When the, therefore, knowledge flows on in its proper channel, this extensive and valuable filed, the mind, instead of being covered with stagnant waters, is cultivated to the uttermost advantage, and blooms luxuriantly into the general efflorescence—for a river properly restricted by high banks, is necessarily progressive’” (Brown). The use of imagery and strong dramatic metaphors are use by the author to illustrate the importance of education.
When The Power of Sympathy and Charlotte ...
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...the results of acting in a naïve way. Susanna Rowson, William Hill Brown as well as many others who took interest in this period in history all recognized that the young girls in these novels were vulnerable due to their naives and sometimes-innocent personalities. It is true that gender play a mayor role in these early American novels, it is also true that the naïve factor is a very powerful trade with a devastating potential, where strong morals and experience sometimes are not enough to protect against it.
Rowson, and Marion Rust. Charlotte Temple: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2011. Print.
Brown, William Hill and Hannah Webster Foster. The Power of Sympathy (Penguin Classics, 1996)