Barbara Welter's View Of American Culture

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There are several approaches in analyzing American life, past or present. Research is the way to find what America thought its culture should be. American studies scholars took several theories to articulate their own research in the field. Historians looking back at the country's history found oppression and misrepresentations of a culture that was ever evolving. There were beliefs that the old customs should stay alive. In addition, history provided a view of America that wasn’t all that ideal. As different as each historian’s research was, the mode by which they studied America was also different. Those vehicles of examination were as basic as the writings of the period of entertainment that enthralled a society. Barbara Welter used …show more content…

Nowadays society has a plethora of mediums to convey what the ideal woman is. Even in the modern world, images proliferate the daily lives of females of who and what they should be. Magazines, television, and even internet blogs find their way to the female psyche and American culture. In the past, however, women had to rely on other rudimentary sources regarding their lives. These rudimentary sources, although archaic in their mindset, is what historian Barbara Welter inquired about in depth. Welter pulled together what was an immense array of written words that transmitted through their context, advised women that they have a certain place in society. Welter found a prevailing theme within the context of ladies magazines, periodicals, and spiritual literature of the time. Through her research in the context of this literature, Welter found how submission to religion, feminine manipulation, and dependence on men were the real message these writings were transmitting at this time. From Young Ladies Literary and Missionary Report, “you may labor without the apprehension of detracting from the charms of feminine delicacy” (qtd. Welter …show more content…

Her inquiries addressed the omission of great female writers from the criterion of exceptional literature. Her mode was via undermining the logic in literary critics or the method of deconstruction. Baym employed three justifications in her theory: simple bias, gender, and “gender-related restrictions” (Baym 217). Baym’s premises is that the literary critic, “has chosen his authors on the basis of their conformity to his idea of what is truly American” (Baym 218). The critics are already bias to the writer due to their version of culture and events that matter in American society. Within the writings of Lionel Trilling, who criticized even Vernon Parrington of not having a true testimony of what America culture is, to F.O. Matthiessen who doted on writers that had a “devotion to the possibilities of democracy” (qtd Baym 218), females writers did not have a sense of the true American experience. Women’s literature were melodramas that only has to do with daily life and per Baym, “the matter of American experience is inherently male” (Baym 222). Additionally, women could hardly speak of the country’s ideals when it was men that were the one’s that were molding this society. Of course women’s literature was unlike their male counterparts, they were speaking from their own understanding. Even in books like The

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