Captivity, Childbirth, and the Civil War in Harriet Prescott Spofford’s ” Circumstance”. Theresa Strouth Gaul. Texas Christian University. Harriet Prescott Spofford’s. Spofford, Harriet. “Circumstance.” The Online Archive of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writings. Ed. Glynis Carr. Online. Internet. Posted: Winter Circumstance has 10 ratings and 0 reviews. Harriet Prescott Spofford was a regular contributor of short stories to the well known journal, The.

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Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Want to Read saving…. Allison Guenette rated it liked it Nov 27, The monster raised his head and flared the fiery eyeballs upon her, then fretted the imprisoned claws a moment and was quiet; only the breath like the vapor from some hell-pit still swathed her.

Suddenly, a swift shadow, like the fabulous flying-dragon, writhed through the air before her, and she felt herself instantly seized and borne aloft.

She did not think at this instant to call upon Spofvord. The husband proceeds a step or two in advance; the wife lingers over a singular foot-print in the snow, stoops and examines it, then looks up with a hurried word. As she dpofford her voice trilling up and down its quick oscillations between joy and pain, the creature who grasped her uncurled his paw and scratched the bark from the bough; she must vary the spell; and her voice spun leaping along the projecting points of tune of a hornpipe.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Kindle Edition18 pages. What is there in their home, lying below and yellowing in the light, to fix him with such a stare?

Let us be ended by fire, and we are ashes, for the winds to bear, the leaves to cover; let us be circumstznce by wild beasts, and the base, cursed thing howls with us forever through the forest.

She had heard that music charmed wild beasts,–just this point between life and death intensified every faculty,–and when she opened her lips the third time, it was not for shrieking, but for singing. Death at the sword is the festival of trumpet and bugle and banner, with glory ringing out around you and distant hearts thrilling through yours. Rutgers University Press Cheerful home sound then, how full of safety and all comfort and rest it seemed! An unnamed woman travels back to her home after caring for an ill neighbor in Maine and notices a white apparition floating in the air that sighed, ” The Lord have mercy on the people!


Knight and Emmanuel S. The husband experiences nature as a conqueror, one that gives little heed to his actions and their consequences.

Spofford’s days in Washington with her husband provide the basis for the sentimental stories in Old Washingtonand her final collection, often considered her best, The Elder’s Peoplereturns to New England. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.


Home lay some three miles distant, across a copse, a meadow, and a piece of woods,–the woods being a fringe on the skirts of the great spoford that stretch far away into the North. She called upon her husband.

Siana Lark added it Dec 10, It must have been the echo, most musical, most resonant, repeated and yet repeated, dying with long sighs of sweet sound, vibrated from rock to river and back again from depth to depth of cave and cliff. This site uses cookies. There is no home there. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Richardson, American Literature2 vols.

The beast made a sluggish movement,–stretched and fawned like one awakening,–then, as if he would have yet more of the enchantment, stirred her slightly with his muzzle. This story also symbolizes the woman artist’s oppression. Thus the beast represents the hardships that the artistic woman must face during her life. The period in which Spofford began writing was a bridge between romanticism and realism. She remembered the winding-sheet, and for the first time in her life shivered with spiritual fear.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Posted in EssaysThe Dark Side. High and clear through the frore fair night, the level moonbeams splintering in the wood, the scarce glints of stars in the shadowy roof of branches, these sacred anthems rose,– rose as a hope from despair, as some snowy spray of flower-bells from blackest mould.


Still singing, she felt herself twisted about with a low growl and a lifting of the red lip from the glittering teeth; she broke the hornpipe’s thread, and commenced unravelling a lighter, livelier thing, an Irish jig.

Based on a true incident in her family history, “Circumstance” is nonetheless startlingly unusual. The other male character presented in Circumstance, the equally nameless husband of the female protagonist, is also used to show men in a negative light; he is a well-meaning fool. The dry humor, the New England realities, the believable dialect, wpofford the restraint with which she individualizes each character earned Spofford high praise.

The woman displays remarkable intelligence when dealing with the Indian Devil. Spofford expresses the sisterhood of women in her final collection in a story called “A Village Dressmaker. Ultimately it is the method in which men and women view and react to nature that defines the characters of this story. Although some anonymous stories were published in Harfiet family story-papers, she never acknowledged these earliest money-making ventures. To find out more, including how to control cookies, prexcott here: My handle on life was broken, but I fixed it Just another WordPress.

Gender Roles in “Circumstance” | AML Visions of the Land

If this were in his great plan of providence, was it not best, and should she not accept it? On the other end of the spectrum is the strong, cold man who brutishly subdues nature. Fourth Edition Table of Contents. Sue marked it as to-read Aug 19, What whisper of dawn now rustled through the wilderness?