Sara Orne Jewitt

This essay has a total of 1615 words and 9 pages.

Sara Orne Jewitt



Thesis: Sarah Orne Jewett, a native of Maine, was one of the first and most skilled members of the local color movement in literature.

I. The Life of Sarah Orne Jewett
A. Looking Back
B. The rise and fall
II. Jewett's Style of Writing
A. Why write?
B. Style of Writing
C. How it affects today's literature
III. The Country of the Pointed Firs
A. The people and places
B. Simple society
C. A triumph of style















Sarah Orne Jewett, a native of Maine, was one of the first and most skilled members of the local color movement in literature. She was a novelist, poet, essayist, and short story writer. A country doctor's daughter, Jewett's experiences in accompanying her father on his calls had an important impressionable effect on the sensibility that later led her to write meaningful stories of New England character and experience. Anyone from another part of the United States, anyone from another part of the world who wants to understand New England would do well to read the stories of Sarah Orne Jewett.
Sarah Orne Jewett was born on September 3, 1849 in a small town called South Berwick, Maine. Her father was a distinguished country doctor who taught at Bowdoin College. Sarah's real education came from her father's library and even more from the trips she took with him to see his patients in the country. "These trips resulted in an intimate knowledge of the Maine countryside and its people, and an attachment to her father which was so strong that it precluded any emotional relationship to any other man," (Kunitz 418). Although she was a beautiful woman, she never fell in love or inspired love. She never realized how much of her life had been taken away by the father she adored.
Sarah's older sister encouraged her to send in her first story to a magazine, Riverside, under the pen name Alice C. Elliot. In 1869, at the age of nineteen, the Atlantic Monthly published the first of a series that later was called Deephaven. The book was an immediate success. As the result of the success, she became a friend and companion of Annie Fields, a Boston hostess. Through Annie, she made many literary acquaintances and admirers. These connections, as well as her travels to Europe and her wide reading, broadened her horizons beyond the borders of Maine. In 1878 her beloved father died. Her grief could only be imagined. In 1901 she was granted an honorary Litt. D. degree, the first ever given to a woman. Her life, like her talent, was at a peak. Little did she know a few months later she was to be condemned semi-invalidism for the rest of her life and would never again have the strength to write more than a letter. A fall from a carriage had caused spinal injuries from which she would never recover. She gradually faded away over the next eight years, and sadly nothing more of hers was published.
Sarah Orne Jewett's influences include Gustave Flaubert, Emile Zola, Leo Tolstoy, and Henry James. Her love of the seaport town in which she was born provided most of the source material she used for her stories. Her stories depict not only a love for Maine, but also a high level of admiration for that particular part of the country. She learned to love her country for what it was. Most importantly, she saw it as it was. Sarah Orne Jewett injects a great deal of realism into her stories. She was compelled to write by a longing to share her beloved countryside and its people to the world.
Her writing style of "romanticized realism"is considered to be of the same class as that of Willa Cather and Harriet Beecher Stowe.



"[In] some of Miss Jewett's early writings we feel that a certain faint charm is struggling unavailingly with an artistic method too monotonous; and in some of her later stories she has also her uninspired hours, where her subjects of common daily life have their uninteresting reaches and stretches which defy the delicacy of her touch," (Compton's CD-ROM 1).
Her work exhales a spirituality which is inseparable from her precise perception of her country-people's native outlook and attitude toward life. Her gift for characterization is remarkably subtle, but neither rich nor profound. The gift of indicating character by a few short simple strokes is the gift of the masters. "Her gift therefore is the gift of drawing from nature, with an exquisite fidelity to what appeals to her feminine imagination-such a s the infinite variety of women's perceptions in the personal relations; but the feminine insight only moves along the plane of her sympathetic appreciation," (Garnett 360).
"We may grant that she is only a minor writer, that the kind of pleasure her work offers only remotely resembles the effect of great literature, that the insight she gives us into men and women is fragmen

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