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ISSN 2301-5829

Vol. 2 / No. 1 / Published : 2013-02

TOC : 7, and page :46 - 52

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Original Article :

Negotiating traditional gender roles in laura ingalls wilder’s little town on the prairie

Author :

  1. Maria Angelina Chandra*1
  2. Titien Diah Soelistyarini*2
  1. Mahasiswa Fakultas Ilmu Budaya
  2. Dosen Fakultas Ilmu Budaya

Abstract :

This paper attempt to examine how women negotiated traditional gender roles in the nineteenth century America as depicted in Wilder’s novel Little Town on the Prairie. In order to reveal how Laura Ingalls, the main character, accepts or refuses to assume the traditional gender roles, this study analyzes the characterization of Laura Ingalls using Feminist literary criticism. Laura’s negotiation is examined by comparing her portrayal in the novel with the ideal roles of women in the nineteenth century proposed by Wollstonecraft and Beecher and Stowe. This study reveals that throughout the novel Laura has made an effort to negotiate with traditional gender roles by accepting some of the patriarchal rules, while at the same time refusing some others. On the one hand, Laura fits some criteria of an ideal woman proposed by Beecher and Stowe as proponents of traditional gender roles. On the other hand, Laura  also fits some other criteria of an ideal woman proposed by Wollstonecraft as an opponent of traditional gender roles.

Keyword :

Traditional Gender Roles, Negotiation, Ideal Roles, Nineteenth Century Women, Feminism,

References :

  1. Beecher, Catherine E. and Harriet Beecher Stowe, (0000). The New Housekeeper’s Manual is The New Housekeeper’s Manual: Embracing a New Revised Edition of The American Woman’s Home; or, Principles of Domestic Science. Being a Guide to Economical, Healthful, Beautiful, and Christian Homes. New York : J. B. Ford and Company
  2. Felman, Anita Clair, (2008). Little house, long shadow : Laura Ingalls Wilder's impact on American Culture. USA : University of Missouri Press
  3. Hunt, Peter, (2006). Understanding Children’s Literature Second Edition. New York : Taylor and Francis
  4. Miller, John E., (1998). Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Woman behind the Legend. Columbia : MO: University of Missouri Press
  5. Wilder, Laura Ingalls, (1971). Little Town on the Prairie. New York : HarperCollins Publisher


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