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 dome...
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...cked to comprehend and remember the attack, and to see a direction they may take for correction (Harris 15)." Fern gave us the ironic contrast between American citizensâ values, ideals and actions.
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