From 'spoken of' to speakers: Chicago immigrant women's writing, 1890-1940
AuthorMcMillan, Gloria L.
KeywordsEducation, Bilingual and Multicultural.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Language, Rhetoric and Composition.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHistorians have widely studied and discussed the Progressive era in the United States, including the efforts of English-speaking women's organizations in civic activism. However, few or no studies explore the rhetorical process by which immigrant women forged a bilingual path into American society. Because of prior publicity, a number of early twentieth century immigrants tried to act upon the idea that the United States could be a fresh start for them, putting their plans for social and educational advancement into print. My study takes a structural approach to comparing the writing of three immigrant women, viewing these texts as sites of what Walter Fisher calls the narrative model of rhetoric. In particular, this analysis demonstrates how narratives made of such elements as Ernest Bormann's "fantasy themes" provide "good reasons" for action. Thus, this inquiry focuses on at least two aspects of rhetoric, particularly the role that these women's writing played in educating their communities about public issues, often employing an oblique style of stories and anecdotes. First, it explores the ways that literacy exercised an empowering role both in and beyond classrooms to open a social space for these writers, both as immigrants and as women. Secondly, my project furthers the conversation initiated by people such as Jane Addams and John Dewey by connecting their work with today's theorists such as Theresa Enos, Sally Miller Gearhart, and Sonja Foss.
Degree ProgramGraduate College