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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

5. Masculine

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Activities: Author Activities

Catharine Maria Sedgwick - Author Questions

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  1. Comprehension: What separates the "opposed and contending parties" Sedgwick chronicles in her story "A Reminiscence of Federalism"? How do national party politics divide the small settlement of Carrington, Vermont? What is the narrator's attitude toward the characters' devotion to their political parties?

  2. Comprehension: How does Sedgwick characterize the three women who compete for Everell Fletcher's affections in Hope Leslie? How does the novel deal with his relationship with Magawisca, the Pequot woman? What is Magawisca's fate?

  3. Context: The "secluded and quiet village of H.," which is the setting for "Cacoethes Scribendi," is populated almost solely by women. How does the dominance of women affect the community? What is the women's relationship to the few men in the area? How does Sedgwick's description of this female village compare with other writers' accounts of western communities populated almost exclusively by men (works by Love, Clappe, or Ridge, for example)?

  4. Context: How do the Native American characters in Hope Leslie articulate their attachment to their traditional lands? How do their attitudes toward their land and their culture compare with those expressed by the Cherokee memorialists?

  5. Exploration: How does Sedgwick's portrait of the Pequot War in Hope Leslie undermine or challenge historical accounts of that event written by Puritans? How do Nelema and Magawisca's moving descriptions of the slaughter of the Pequots compare to John Underhill's account of the war? Or William Bradford's?

  6. Exploration: Sedgwick's brother felt that his sister's first novel, A New-England Tale, had alienated some of its readers by its "unfavorable representation of the New England character." In response, Sedgwick determined to provide less hostile descriptions of Puritans and their descendants in her subsequent work. How does she portray the Puritan community in Hope Leslie? Which Puritans are sympathetic? How does she portray John Winthrop? How does her representation of Winthrop compare to his authorial persona in his Journal?

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