By Amal Amireh
First released in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Additional info for The Factory Girl and the Seamstress: Imagining Gender and Class in Nineteenth Century American Fiction
A community of interest" was nourished and promoted by the new rules and regulations implemented by the new system. She assured her readers that the mill owners themselves "love intelligent operatives, and are willing to assist us in improving ourselves. They will supply libraries, reading-rooms, and other advantages, to this end" (Farley 18). Thus "constant abuse of those from whom one is voluntarily receiving the means of subsistence" seems to be something more than bad taste-it amounts to a betrayal of one's extended family (New E i z g l ~ ~ n d Ojfirizg July 1848, 95).
The vulnerability of these women is underscored by their uncertain familial identities and by their severed ties to their rural past, a past that remains invisible. Their virtue is ambiguous, and this ambiguity exposes the weakness of the "factory girl" paradigm. Feminizing factory labor may have succeeded in upholding the myth of the agrarian republic by distancing the industrialization process from the men of America and therefore making it seem less threatening.
At one point he rhetorically asks, " What class in society are more worthy of respect, than those who, by the daily labor of their hands, gain an honorable livelil~ood,and secure to themselves the means of cultivating their minds-thus preparing themselves for future usefulness and a happy life, wllether "among the spindles," in the hrm-house, or in the parlor? (48) Although he insists that what he presents is real and not tinted by any flights of the imagination, the picture he draws is highly idealized.