Unmasking the Bourgeoise

Literature Plants Its Seed

A Love Story




Real Life

Children's literature served as a useful guide in regulating young girl's lives. Their games and rhymes during the nineteenth century reveal an interplay of civil and religious influences. Intermingled with the notions of being "good," many young girls came to believe that this would secure them a life with beautiful clothing to wear and a happy marriage.

Surprised in His Slumbers, 1866: Perrot, 209

A child's game from the French countryside:

A Round

I've thirty-two daughters to marry!
I've filled my whole attic with them.
Good Lord, I don't know how
I'll marry off all my children.

My daughter, my daughter,
I'm speaking to you.
What is it you're saying?
I say that if you're good,
You'll make a happy marriage.

I say that if you're good,
You'll make a happy marriage.
You'll be dressed up fit to kill;
Now turn around the circle.

Now go on with the dance.
Hop three times and bow,
And finally you kiss
This one that you will love.

Hellerstein, 50

From their early days of childhood, little girls were schooled to think of marriage as their aim in life, as the fulfillment of a duty to their parents.