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Pioneer women by joanna stratton - Essay Example

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Order#: 536106 Topic: Pioneer women by Joanna Stratton In most of the societies, women lead a tough life as compared to men. The most simple-looking woman, when challenged, has the capacity to face the vicissitudes of life to a matchless extent to make the men feel humble…
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Download file to see previous pages In the book, “Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier,” Joanna Stratton gives details some of the astonishing women from the Kansas frontier, one of the toughest region, viewed from any angle, how bravely they fought for the day to day existence and for the welfare of the members of their families. Their heroism was not ordinary. The author begins the book with an argument against men, which is difficult to counter. She writes, (1982, p.12) “ As my father dryly observed sixty years ago in New Viewpoints in American History, ‘ All our great historians have been men and were likely therefore to be influenced by a sex interpretation of history all the more potent because unconscious.” Way back in 1867, Carrie Stearns Smith began the interesting and tough journey from Kansas City, Missouri to her new abode to south of Fort Scott. Since then women have taken giant strides and their contribution for the development of Kansas Frontier Culture has been outstanding. The mode of travel was through a stagecoach, through the rough terrain and bumpy roads and difficult mud paths. Stratton created history in literature related to Kansas, by rediscovering the oral histories of 800 Kansas pioneer women collected by her great-grand mother in the 1920s. She classified the mammoth and unorganized collection into 15 themes and 15 chapters to give it the form of historical evidence for the contribution of those women to the Kansas society and culture. She writes, “So the voices in this book are fresh and new—voices of the marvelous women who survived the bushwhackers and the redskins (and the Kansas men), the blistering sun and the angry wind, pursuing the daily round in quiet heroism without ostentation or complaint.”(p. 12-13) So, the authenticity of the contents of the book is unchallengeable, as they are from the primary sources. With fortitude and by remaining true to the traditions of the societal conditions prevailing then, the women tamed the Kansas frontier. The contents of the book will generate strong sentiments amongst the women readers and for valid reasons. The life of the prairie women, their endurance and loneliness makes an incredible reading. It is not only history—it is a profound mystery. If facts are stranger than fiction, they are in abundance in this book. No woman, in any part of the world, should ever be called upon to live that type of life. Their faith in God did play a role in their determination to survive in the tough social and geographical conditions. The endurance capacity of the Indians was much more and the author observes, “After the draught of 1860 Kansas lost nearly a third of its white population.”(p.12) This means, the white settlers had alternative sources and place to look forward to but the native Indians had to struggle on with the existing situation, with nowhere to go! The challenges of the prairie women were too difficult for the printed page to capture as compared to the present day standards. They took active part in building their new homes as bull snakes showed up in rafters. Their life was entirely self-made and they got no help from any quarters, all through their struggle. Stratton throws up a meaningful question, “What was the work of a farm woman in those days?”(57) This is a profound observation. They helped men in plowing and sowing and danger from snake-bites was an open invitation. It was a do or die-situation for them all through their life, as men did not prevent them from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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