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American BloodThe Ends of the Family in American Literature, 1850-1900$
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Holly Jackson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199317042

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199317042.001.0001

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“Why I Hate Children”

“Why I Hate Children”

The Willful Sterility of The Country of the Pointed Firs

Chapter:
(p.112) Chapter 5 “Why I Hate Children”
Source:
American Blood
Author(s):

Holly Jackson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199317042.003.0005

This chapter addresses the shift in feminist thought away from the idealization of maternity in the late nineteenth century, examining white women’s growing interest in controlling reproduction. Considering the influence of Free Love radicalism and the factors that ultimately led to eugenic feminism, this chapter recovers an anti-natalist strain in first-wave feminist thought. A reading of Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) in light of sociological discourses decrying New England’s diminished birthrate illuminates the conflicting demands of feminism and the reproductive imperative of white nationalism in Roosevelt’s America.

Keywords:   first-wave feminism, anti-natalism, race suicide, Jewett, Sarah Orne, eugenics, New England, regionalism, local color, The Country of the Pointed Firs

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