By Michelle Ann Abate
Beginning with the determine of the daring, boisterous woman within the mid-19th century and finishing with the “girl strength” flow of the 1990’s, Tomboys is the 1st full-length severe learn of this gender-bending code of lady behavior. Michelle impede uncovers the origins, charts the trajectory, and strains the literary and cultural modifications that the concept that of “tomboy” has passed through within the United States. impede specializes in literature together with Louisa could Alcott's Little ladies and Carson McCullers's The Member of the marriage and movies reminiscent of Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon and Jon Avnet's Fried Green Tomatoes. She additionally attracts on lesser-known texts like E.D.E.N. Southworth's as soon as wildly renowned 1859 novel The Hidden Hand, chilly conflict lesbian pulp fiction, and New Queer Cinema from the Nineteen Nineties. Tomboys additionally explores the gender and sexual dynamics of tomboyism, and gives fascinating discussions of race and ethnicity's function within the development of the iconic cultural archetype. Abate’s insightful research offers worthy, thought-provoking connections among assorted literary works and eras. the end result demystifies this cultural phenomenon and demanding situations readers to think about tomboys in a complete new mild.
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Additional info for Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History
While efforts to eradicate slavery raised hopes about fi nally fulfi lling the democratic vision of the Founding Fathers, it simultaneously elicited fears about the entrance of blacks into white American society. Especially in areas where the number of blacks 6 / Chapter 1 exceeded that of whites, Anglo-Americans feared that maintaining white racial control after emancipation would be difficult and—in some regions—perhaps even impossible. While tomboyism is not commonly connected with this issue, it had a direct link to it.
14 / C h a p t e r 1 Although Capitola is disappointed that she has been caught, she is pleased to be able to abandon her boyish appearance. When Ira Warfield takes his ward to a dressmaker’s shop after she has been released from police custody, the tomboyish girl cheerfully sheds her gender-bending garb. Gladly removing the newsboy outfit, she is furnished “with a half dozen complete suits of female attire” (50). Unlike the tomboys of many future novels, Cap puts on a dress without complaint. In many ways, in fact, the young woman is relieved by the change.
The next morning, Cap is relieved to hear that Donald has not perished, just been badly injured. In an act that is more characteristic of Victorian heroine than a tomboyish hero once again, she gushes, “‘Oh, heaven! he is living! he is living! I have not killed him! . for it was a fearful thought that I had been compelled to take a sacred life’” (396). Even more shocking, the formerly unapologetic girl deeply regrets her actions because they will result in another person’s imprisonment. “Capitola was everywhere lauded for her brave part in the capture of the famous desperado.