Child Vs Cooper Analysis

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Child vs. Cooper: The Womanly Stance

In Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York, some of her critiques of other writings are focused on the insult she feels as a woman reading books like James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers. Both of these authors seem to agree with the fact there has been a general cultural assumption surrounding the idea that women are to primarily remain as stay-at-home moms. However, Child does not seem to agree that society should judge women in such a way that Cooper appears to display in his paragraph, which focuses on the outer aspects of females. Despite the flattering descriptions, Child seems to take offense to this idea, because it is solely focused on the physical aspects of the young woman instead of her actual
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Even though Elizabeth is the daughter of the one in charge, Remarkable seemed to have believed she held a higher power in the household, even over someone for whom she really should show more respect, since she was a servant of the house. Normally, the daughter of an employer would be held in high regard for being the child of the employer. However, it is only until Remarkable discovers and acknowledges the beautiful looks of Elizabeth does she find out how much feminine power she really held in the house. This indicates how important appearance is for these women, as well as most women at the time Child and Cooper published their writings. At the time, females could possibly gain a lot if others only perceived their appearance to be the most pleasing to the eye; they would not have to do anything of any real significance. Child, on the other hand, wants to argue this point. She does not believe that looks should make such a big difference in how others distinguish women. Rather, Child believes that “women [should] be, rather than seem” (Child par. 2), even to the point where women “become more pleasing” (par. 3). This indicates Child’s desire for females to strive more for a pleasing character than a better

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