Nan Johnson demonstrates that when the Civil battle, nonacademic or “parlor” traditions of rhetorical functionality helped to maintain the icon of the white center category girl as queen of her family sphere by way of selling a code of rhetorical habit for girls that required the functionality of traditional femininity. via a lucid exam of the bounds of that gendered rhetorical space—and the controversy approximately who should still occupy that space—Johnson explores the codes governing and difficult the yankee woman’s right rhetorical sphere within the postbellum years.
While males have been studying to evangelise, perform legislation, and set political guidelines, girls have been analyzing elocution manuals, letter-writing handbooks, and different behavior literature. those texts strengthened the conservative message that women’s phrases mattered, yet mattered typically in the house. Postbellum pedagogical fabrics have been designed to coach american citizens in rhetorical abilities, yet additionally they many times directed the yank girl to the family sphere as her right rhetorical area. even if those fabrics seemed to urge the white center category girls to turn into potent audio system and writers, conference dictated woman’s position used to be on the hearthside the place her rhetorical abilities have been for use in counseling and educating as a mom and wife.
Aided by way of twenty-one illustrations, Johnson has meticulously compiled fabrics from old texts not on hand to most people and, in so doing, has illuminated this intersection of rhetoric and feminism within the 19th century. The rhetorical pedagogies designed for a postbellum well known viewers characterize the cultural websites the place a rethinking of women’s roles turns into open controversy approximately the way to price their phrases. Johnson argues this period of uneasiness approximately transferring gender roles and the icon of the “quiet girl” has to be regarded as facts of the necessity for a extra whole revaluing of women’s house in old discourse.
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