* Womens Interests: Conventions of Female Identity

Conventions of Female Identity

In the mid nineteenth century several women writers were gaining popularity. Writers like Warner, Cummings, Hentz, and Southworth took responsibility on their shoulders to remold the female identity for years to come. We know that women hold the unique responsibility of balancing moral values in a morally deficient society. Within literature and society at the time, the only platform to balance these virtues was a domestic one. This fine line is gets trampled on in EDEN Southworth's The Hidden Hand. Southworth's writing stretches further than specific character tendencies as in the description of the house is what also subverts cultural assumptions.

The use of this symbolic space is deliberately used many times as a device to prove her point. Scenes from Hurricane Hall, the hidden House, Clara Day's Willow heights, Marah's various cottages, and the Cal Retreat insane asylum are examples of spaces that she charged with language derived from feminist master.

Every house in The Hidden Hand serve as a women's prison at one time or another. Hurricane Hall specifically serves as a prison for Capitola at times as she is forbidden beyond certain boundaries. There is a connection between Hurricane Hall and Capitola's relationship that is similar to the constraints commonly placed on women. This theme is prevalent throughout The Hidden Hand but the reader was first introduced in chapter fifteen named Cap's Country Capers. This scene was one of the first introductions to Hurricane Hall as well for the reader. When Capitola first got there she was gloating in her new found fortunes. After living on the streets of New York as a vagrant newsgirl dressed in boy's clothes, she finally found a life of comfort.