Female Independence in Catharine Maria Sedgewick's Hope Leslie and Kelly Clarkson's Song Miss Independent

Female Independence in Catharine Maria Sedgewick's Hope Leslie and Kelly Clarkson's Song Miss Independent

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Female Independence in Catharine Maria Sedgewick's Hope Leslie and Kelly Clarkson's Song "Miss Independent"


Authors have addressed the topic of female independence in various literary styles, including novels, novellas, and poetry. In our society today, independence for women is one of the main topics of many songs. The concept of female independence has changed over the years; people have gone from frowning upon female independence to celebrating it. Both Catharine Maria Sedgewick and pop singer Kelly Clarkson address female behavior that now, in the 21st century, is typical for many women. In Sedgewick’s Hope Leslie, the title character portrays a young woman that defies her society’s repressive Puritanical standards; she portrays independence, courage, and outspokenness. Clarkson, in her 2003 hit, “Miss Independent” expresses characteristics common in many females of modern American society; they tend to show independence, self-sufficiency, courage, and determination. Hope, in a way, is an anachronism; she represents characteristics of a 21st century woman, though living in the 17th century.

In Hope Leslie, the typical woman of the repressed 17th century Puritan society portrays a very passive demeanor; she tends to behave in a quiet and humble way. Esther Downing and Mrs. Winthrop exemplify this expected behavior. They are quiet, humble, do not express their opinions, and show domesticity – they are the perfect Puritan female. The title character, Hope Leslie, grew up “among the strictest sect of the puritans” and due to her upbringing, her loved ones expect that her behavior reflect that of women like Esther and Mrs. Winthrop (127). However, Hope does not adhere to the expectations. She depicts outspokenness, e...


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...r Philip, or have any sort of relationship with him whatsoever. Instead, Hope decides that she loves Everell and wants to be with him. Once again, Hope symbolizes how the majority of women would begin to behave as the years progressed.

Hope is the 17th century version of “Miss Independent.” Sedgewick uses Hope to portray a woman that has the characteristics of a typical woman of the 21st century. Hope shows assertiveness, courage, independence, outspokenness, and many other qualities not usual for a Puritan woman during the 17th century. Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independence” represents the average female of the 21st century, especially American women. The concept of female independence has changed drastically over the years, and it continues to change. This 21st century song bears a strong representation of an atypical 17th century female, Hope Leslie.

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