That duality and the contradictions of young people coming of age are often especially acute for females who are simultaneously expected to assume nurturing, care-giving roles and to remain dependent and subservient (in which young protagonists are engaged in the process of separating from childhood, of making the transition from the security of family and then from peers to independence and maturity, and ultimately of integrating their lives into a community of adults). In the transition stage, usually go on a journey and face some sort of isolation, either physical or psychological, frequently internal.
As a transient, Sylvie challenges the traditional stereotypes of women as civilizer. In particular, Sylvie is an outlaw to not just legal laws but also to social ones. She does not always observe the laws that dictate how she as a female should act. This rebellion is not always a conscious one because these laws are not fixed and formalized.
However, the story of Housekeeping the story of the return of Sylvie to stability, continuity and domesticity, al1 that she rejects in her choice of a transient life. She returns to her hometown of Fingerbone after an absence of nearly fifteen years in order to care for her two nieces. The novel focuses on her relationship with these two girls and on her ability or inability, to care for them. Sylvie retains many of her transient habits in the course of keeping house and caring for her nieces, behaviour which eventually attracts the attention of the community, including the sheriff. Her inability to cultivate a conventional home life also puts her at odds with her niece Lucille while it draws her closer to Ruthie. Ultimately, Lucille leaves Sylvie's home for that of her home economics teacher in her desire for a more orderly and conventional life. On the other hand, Ruth joins her aunt in a life of wandering from town to town by boxcar. This occurs only after the community of Fingerbone has decided that Sylvie is not...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document