COQUETTE - 1 Coquetry In 1797 The Coquette was published...

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Coquetry In 1797, The Coquette was published anonymously and quickly became one of the best-selling novels of its time. Though not published under the authors real name, Hannah Webster Foster, until 1866 it was clear that the novel had been written by someone with an authentic point of view of the eighteenth century woman. Through her protagonist, Eliza Wharton, Foster delivers a concrete analysis on women’s freedom and the pressure on them to conform to a “virtuous” lifestyle. Eliza goes against this conformity and develops an outlook on marriage and the limitations it places on women that is dangerously ahead of her time. Eighteenth century woman focused their lives on marriage, it determined their place in society, added wealth to the family, and ensured security to women while at the same time filled the heat with an emotional connection to ones soul mate. Eliza Wharton became the exception of the every day eighteenth century woman. Her quest for self-determination in the moralistic conventions of society split the novel into three sections. The first section focuses on Eliza's remarkable intellectual endowments and her quest for self-realization. While in New Haven, Eliza defies socially constructed limitations 1
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imposed on female activity and self-development. The second section takes place mainly in Hartford, Eliza's small hometown. It dwells on the powerlessness of the lonely heroine, the comfort she derives from the attentions of the fashionable Major Sanford, while dealing with the issue of self-confinement to one man and the prospects of domesticity in marriage. The third section features the revelation of Eliza’s secret lustful relationship with the already married Major Sanford. Eliza joins the large group of repentant but irredeemably fallen women characters who die giving birth to an illegitimate child. The restrictions marriage placed upon women were like
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2008 for the course ENG 310 C taught by Professor Rachman during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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COQUETTE - 1 Coquetry In 1797 The Coquette was published...

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