Some Notes on Fanny Fern
From Fanny Fern: An Independent Woman by Joyce W. Warren
Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.
American Literature 220
Married Charles Harrington Eldredge
· After her husband died she supported herself by sewing, but the most she earned as a seamstress was 75 cents a week.
Married Samuel P. Farrington
· Experienced severe emotional abuse from Farrington.
· Author of Ruth Hall
· Successful journalist
How was Fanny Fern a pioneer in women’s rights?
· In discourse, Fern was a pioneer in the use of the vernacular, satire, and understatement. Some considered her vulgar.
· Fern portrayed woman as the self-reliant, independent American individualist. The woman was represented in heroic terms, not selfless and self-effacing.
· The “rags to riches” dream could apply to women’s experiences. Women should earn money for themselves and not depend upon men for financial support.
· First woman to praise Leaves of Grass.
· Fern’s works are political and “subversive.” She wrote on taboo subjects. She criticized the patriarchy.