A Meaning-Full Bouquet: Margaret Fuller's and Elizabeth Stoddard's Use of Flowers to Grow Feminist Discourse
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Janet Gabler Hover - Chair
Dr. Paul Schmidt
Dr. Robert Sattelmeyer
Margaret Fuller’s and Elizabeth Stoddard’s innovative use of the language of flowers in “The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain” and The Morgesons explore multilevel feminine discourse in ways later described by Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigary. Fuller uses flowers symbolically in her text, not mimicking conventional sentimental motifs, but inspiring women’s independence and self-development. Fuller’s flower images become anthropomorphic possibilities for female empowerment which re-envision American women’s social roles and express Fuller’s developing feminism. Stoddard’s use of flowers reflects her realist writing and captures many of the contemporary social applications of flowers. Stoddard, like Alice Walker, sees some artistic agency for women through gardening, but ultimately finds the comparison of women to flowers an antiquated system which holds women back in search of social progress.
Kopcik, Corinne, "A Meaning-Full Bouquet: Margaret Fuller's and Elizabeth Stoddard's Use of Flowers to Grow Feminist Discourse." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2007.