Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Notes, Mary Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie (1861-65)
The Civil War is just the most important thing in American cultural and social historyas well as political and military history, of coursesince the War of Independence from Great Britain. It is, quite simply, fundamental to America's identity and sensibility, and it remains so to this day.
[...] This became notorious, with many upper class conscripts getting out of fighting by employing working class or emigrant people to go instead. So, a whole tier of people got away without fighting, in effect, by getting others, with less money, to take their place. Another way this theme manifests itself in One of Alcott's text is via amputation. Many of the patients in the hospital are amputees, which is historically appropriate, as the Civil War in fact was known for producing a greater number of amputees. [...]
[...] *The first is obvious, and is simply that when you compare the two columns, you see that there's a direct opposition, if not antagonism, btw each term and the one facing it. *The second is that when you read the table vertically, column by column, you'll find that what you have here are two metonymic chains. This is a staple lit. crit term The point is that these terms go hand in hand and thus evoke each other “Feminist/anti-feminist” is a skyhook [This will come up when we read The Bostonians.] 4. [...]
[...] (The death penalty is an example.) The moral and legal basis of the South's complaint against the North. Lastly, though not least, this was a war of different cultures, if not a war between entirely different types of people. Northerners were seen as rather cold, commercial, calculating people; more head than heart. Southerners, by contrast, liked to see themselves as full of hospitality, generous if not excessive and extravagant, spirited as opposed to materialistic; *in short, more heart than head. [...]
[...] (This is by a contemporary historian, Vernon Button:) [ ] Before the war, white southerners saw themselves as the masculine counterpoint to the effeminate Yankee. Northern victory reversed this relationship, and the North became the masculine counterpart to the South as handmaiden. Post-war northern fiction and travel literature came to view the South in increasingly romanticised and feminized terms. This gendered imagery was central to a notion of reconciliation in which the defeated, dependent South was welcomed back into the national fold. Vernon Button, in A Companion to 19th-Century America, ed. William L. Barney (2001). [...]
[...] You sometimes get the sense that this is quite exasperating. At one point in your extract, she writes: all this death and destruction, the women are the same—chatter, patter, clatter.” And I think you take from that a sense that “chapper, patter, clatter” isn't all that great. By contrast, Alcott's text is all about how separate spheres are undermined, So, if Chesnut shows their reinforcement, Alcott's text is all about how war makes masculine and feminine converge and blend together. *This brings us back to the idea of hospitals. [...]
using our reader.