Tutor profile: Demetria M.
What are three key elements that you should identify before beginning a paper?
1. Is your claim arguable? 2. Can you find textual evidence? 3. Why we should care.
How did male and female writers differ when writing about sexuality in mid-19th century America?
The mid-19th century was an interesting time in American history where ideas about sexuality were still hardly formed. The heteronormative social mores dictated that a man and a woman got married and had children, but there were quite a few exceptions to that rule. These anxieties surrounding sexuality often showed up in the literature of the time. Julia Ward Howe’s novel The Hermaphrodite captures anxieties surrounding gender’s impact on sexuality. Laurence, an intersex individual that identifies with male pronouns, is shown to be asexual but bi-romantic. In the same text women are given sexual agency outside of the confines of marriage. Margaret J.M. Sweat deals with similar themes in Ethel’s Love Life as she explores same-sex attraction in women and premarital romantic agency in a woman writing letters to her betrothed. Theodore Winthrop explores same-sex attraction between men in Cecil Dreeme, but he does not allow his women any sexual or romantic agency. The consequence for women like Emma Page and Emma Denman showing signs of sexual or romantic agency is death, while Clara Denman’s sexual purity is awarded with marriage. Despite the fact that The Hermaphrodite, Ethel’s Love Life, and Cecil Dreeme were all written in 1846-47, 1859, and 1861 respectively, the female writers allow all of their characters sexual and romantic agency, while the male writers only allow men that same agency, while punishing female characters for exercising it.
What is chiasmus?
Chiasmus is a rhetorical device that inverts the first phrase of sentence in the phrase that follows it.
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