Mowatt’s play Fashion opened in 1845 and has been crowned as the best American comedy of the 19th century. This play is also known as Fashion: or, Life in New York. It can be considered a representative play due to Mowatt’s usage of satire to reveal America’s obsession with “highbrow taste and cultural distinction”. The Industrial Revolution formed America into a developing nation which attracted citizens and foreign immigrants to the expanding industrial towns for job opportunities. Competition and trade relations increased between the American and European nations...
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... the etiquette verses virtue, decorum verses purity, and manners verses morals. Mowatt creates the conflict for her plot by demonstrating the struggle between greed for material wealth and the demand for personal integrity.
Anne Cora Mowatt demonstrates the continental manners and the developing American Spirit in her masterpiece Fashion. It is an idea that she may have used her experiences in America as well as Europe in order to formulate the plot and conflict of this play. She lived during the midst of the industrial expansion of both countries. These topics would have been very relevant during the time due to the increase of each country nationalism as well as trade and manufacturing competition. Despite not knowing how Mowatt devised the plot concept for Fashion, the uniqueness and relatable themes and characters still keep this play an American classic.
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