Higgins and Brenda R. Her story resists the elision of violence against women, and makes rape visible in a way acceptable to her time. Like Emily Dickinson, she draws on the etymology of words to suggest levels of meanings beyond the obvious. She tells her story of rape subversively and obliquely.

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Higgins and Brenda R. Her story resists the elision of violence against women, and makes rape visible in a way acceptable to her time. Like Emily Dickinson, she draws on the etymology of words to suggest levels of meanings beyond the obvious. She tells her story of rape subversively and obliquely.

Especially significant to her indirect method of representation is the ambiguous positioning of the Indian Devil between human and animal identities.

While Fetterley does not allow metaphorical meanings to displace the transgression, she sees the rape itself as metaphoric rather than actual; the confrontation of the woman and the panther resembles the situation between a woman and a rapist, or, put slightly differently, what happens to the woman is like rape, but not necessarily rape itself. Through descriptions closely associating man and beast, and a focus on qualities easily transferable between them, she substitutes an animal for a human predator.

The Indian Devil functions as a camouflage for a violent male aggressor. The violence of the encounter makes reciprocity impossible, compelling the woman to position her violator as the deviant, alien other. The dehumanizing of the attacker into wild animal and racializing into heathen savage are forms of resistance to a threatening male presence. Spofford furthers, moreover, the understanding of female experiences of violation by drawing on the genre of the captivity narrative.

See also Glenda Riley. The extent of the sexual abuse of female captives by their Indian masters remains historically undetermined. Christopher Castiglia concludes that while documented instances of white women raped in Indian captivity are rare, they nonetheless do exist.

The stigma of sexual violation for women, which still endures, may very well have been one reason, stronger than others, that led Rowlandson to proclaim unequivocally her preserved chastity. Her assertions show a pro-active resistance to any possible positioning of her as a fallen woman. But her strong avowals of sexual preservation only serve to underline that captivity carries the fear and threat of sexual violation. The expected violence ensues, but, surprisingly, it is directed at the violating male, who, while asleep, is dismembered by the potential female victim with his own hatchet, after which she calmly lives for the next nine years in his place until her gentleman callers find her in the wilderness.

Panther to a male friend. Such a link is particularly important for the study of Spofford, for words and their multiple meanings hold a special significance in her work. If the story omits the word rape, the captivity narrative form contains its meaning. In her discussion of representations of rape in Chaucer, Christine M.

The beast holds, embraces, yells, creating an image of human assault. Spofford continually emphasizes their close, physical proximity. The intensity, intimacy and sensuality of the encounter all imply forced sex. The woman reacts like a victim of sexual assault. You stand nearer the world than I do. This is a powerful declaration. Armand concludes Emily Dickinson Armand and David Cody. Like Garbowsky, they offer suggestive thoughts on the relationship b Burgess and Holmstrom cite paralysis, both physical and psychological, as a significant state in the experience of rape A hollow cut in any thing … 2.

Both Spofford and Dickinson struggle to find ways to speak the anguished experience that seems inexpressible in its simultaneous and intense violation of both body and mind. The visibility of rape through representation, moreover, presents its own problems.

Attempts to represent extreme violation result at times in extreme expressions which mid-nineteenth-century America, in both sentimental and sensational forms, found particularly compelling. Both Spofford and Dickinson venture into Gothic spaces where the spectacular slides into spectacle, with its too ready embracement of the subject of violated womanhood.

Like Dickinson in more minimalist fashion, Spofford readily pressures emotional and psychological limits. The panther and the maelstrom provide a means of controlling expression and thereby disallow the double victimization of the assaulted woman.

She queries if Spoff Her confusion is momentary, but nonetheless again associates the male presence with threat and fear. Neither forest nor home, wilderness nor settlement, offers safety. This is not a knowable space.

The Lord have mercy on the people! The threatening tone of the vision gives way to the possibility of an unknown assailant stalking the woman. There is no hint of a native presence, or indeed of an animal one, in this odd and threatening image in which the human menace that precedes the violent attack is evident.

The attribution is very quick, and seems too facile. The woman and her family, after the night of anguish, clearly need a ready answer. It remains unknown, suggesting perhaps, without beleaguering this detail more than it deserves, that the source of evil is not so easy to discern.

Is it Indian, animal, savage, male? Was the attacker from the settlement? Spofford is a subtle artist. A distinct lack of certainty informs much of her work. Her aesthetics involve destabilization at every turn.

She is like Sheherazade and Orpheus at once, as Opfermann points out, singing one song after another to keep death at bay, and using her music to tame the wild animal. But song also connects her to another violated woman, the ravaged Philomel, who, defying all odds to proclaim the wrongs done her, eventually transforms into a nightingale.

The woman, suspended in mid-air an instant, cast only one agonized glance beneath,—but across and through it, ere the lids could fall, shot a withering sheet of flame,—a rifle-crack, half-heard, was lost in the terrible yell of desperation that bounded after it and filled her ears with savage echoes, and in the wide arc of some eternal descent she was falling;—but the beast fell under her.

This falling woman lands softly, on her tormentor. Throughout her ordeal, moreover, the woman inverses the relationship between womankind and serpent as well, for in a sense, her singing seduces the beast, not the other way around.

The woman and her family move beyond the violation. There is no hint of recoil or rejection. Spofford offers another response. She empowers her female protagonist, and the image of the united family, the woman, man and child continuing on, provides a model of resilience that insists on resistance to the evil that both man and beast do.

Like Dickinson, she presents obvious details but then mutes them to reveal her subject obliquely but powerfully. Spofford finds ways to express an unspeakable female experience that demands the understanding of her readers.

Berkeley: U of California P, Bal, Mieke. Double Exposure: the Subject of Cultural Analysis. NY: Routledge, Beam, Dorri.

Bendixen, Alfred. Brownmiller, Susan. NY: Simon and Schuster, Castiglia, Christopher. Chicago: UP of Chicago, Coleman, Robert. Ellen Burton Harrington. NY: Peter Lang, Dalke, Anne. Derounian-Stodola, Kathryn Zabelle. NY: Penguin, The Indian Captivity Narrative NY: Twayne, Dickinson, Emily.

Selected Letters. Thomas H. Dickinson, Susan. January Feagin, Joe R. NY and London: Routledge, Fetterley, Judith. Bloomington: Indiana UP, Garbowsky, Maryanne M. Gaul, Theresa Strouth. Grimwood, Michael. Halbeisen, Elizabeth K. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, Hansen, Kevin.

Bobcat: Master of Survival.



Prescott and Sarah Bridges. Her early environments were characterized by picturesque scenery on the one hand, and sturdy New England teachings on the other, which would later affect the themes and vision of her writing. Prescott , while more recently, Secretary of State , William M. Evarts and the Hoar brothers, Ebenezer and George. Prescott, was then a lumber merchant in Calais; afterward he studied and practised law. In , he became attracted by the Pacific coast, and, leaving his family in their Maine home, went out among the host of California Gold Rush pioneers to seek his fortune. He was one of the founders of Oregon City, Oregon , and three times elected its mayor.


Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford

Money difficulties prompted the Prescotts to send Harriet to live with her aunt Elizabeth in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where she attended the Putnam Free School. She attracted the attention of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who awarded her the prize for an essay on Hamlet. She published in the local school paper before graduating and going on to attend Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire. Harriet began publishing anonymously as did most 19th-century women writers in the local Boston family story papers to help support her family.


Circumstance (short story)

It was published serially in The Atlantic Monthly in The story takes place in the woods of Maine with an unnamed protagonist who walks home after caring for a sick neighbor. She ventures into the woods, where she comes in contact with the Indian Devil who assaults her throughout the story, but in this life-and-death situation she realizes her reality and religion and comes to terms with her life, sexuality, and fears. By the end of the story, her husband shoots the Devil with his shotgun in one hand and their baby in the other while the "true Indian Devils" destroy their home and town. Plot summary An unnamed woman travels back to her home after caring for an ill neighbor in Maine and notices a white apparition floating in the air that sighs, "The Lord have mercy on the people!


Circumstance (short story) explained


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