In Reply to: Re: A Respectable Trade [This message has been deleted] posted by Hannah on November 5, 2000 at 12:33:14:
Thank you, first of all, for reading my essay and commenting on it. I agree with you that the feudalism apparent in Matewan was an extreme case. But I do find Francis' situation in A Respectable Trade to be a more subtle version of feudalism. The coal miners (realistically) had no option because they were held in a relationship where they would have to escape to leave(take their feudal lords "belongings" and run away). Francis, similarly, had no options: even when Josiah lost all knowledge and caring of Francis, she had to escape with her child and what little else she could take. Divorce during this time period (as far as I can tell) doesn't really seem to be a feasible option. Francis is her husbands property (she even admits this when conversing with her uncle at Whitelys). The law protects the marriage, and the husbands right to his property. Francis, as a woman, has very few rights in marriage. I am not certain enough of the feudal economic system to determine if Francis' situation fits all of the requirements of feudalism, but as far as I can tell, Francis is ruled by a feudal lord. She produces a product (educated slaves that will provide surplus money for her lord), she is held in a chattel relationship by the marriage contract, and in this relationship she has no choice of employment. If you, Hannah, or anyone else has a different opinion, or new information, I will definitely welcome it, since I am certainly not an expert on the subject. I always appreciate new input!
Post a Followup