Domestic Melodrama

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper Pages: 3 (1138 words) Published: December 7, 2007
Domestic Melodrama
Domestic melodrama is a fictional work emphasizing emotionally unexpected changes and tragic occurrences, traditionally presented in a dramatic manner. The plot usually concerns victimized or suffering leading characters, and a mixture of difficulties among lovers, family, friends, or the community. The story typically incorporates both familiar and romantic themes. Narratives concentrating on a single family unit are described as Domestic Melodramas and portray relations between parents, offspring, siblings, and in-laws, relating how the family endures or dissolves through such emotions as love, jealousy, rivalry, and hatred. Melodrama was the most pervasive dramatic genre of the 19th century. Melodramas were typically overflowing with emotion, set in mysterious locations, and peopled with typical characters: heartless villains, heroines in distress, and strong heroes who faced almost insurmountable odds in rescuing those heroines. They were relatable stories, stories that people could see their own lives unfolding into. Family was always a major theme of melodrama, since in the 19th century; it was who people dealt with the most. Racial, social, and economic tensions in American society found a way into popular dramas. In Harriet Jacobs "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl", domestic melodrama occurs when Linda Brent struggles to protect herself from her master and is torn between her desire to run away from him and her need to protect her children. Dr. Flint refuses to sell Linda to Mr. Sands; Dr. Flint banishes Linda to his plantation; Aunt Martha tries to talk her out of running away; Linda discovers that her children will soon be broken in as field hands. Linda runs away from the plantation and goes into hiding, leaving her previous life behind and taking the first step away from slavery. Dr. Flint throws Linda's children and brother in jail; Linda tricks Dr. Flint into thinking she is living in the North; Mr. Sands promises to...
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