Maruo-Schröder, Nicole (2016):
"A(t) Home on the Frontier: Place, Narrative, and Material Culture in Caroline Kirkland and Eliza Farnham." Space, Place, and Narrative. Eds. Bieger, Laura; Maruo-Schröder, Nicole. Special issue of Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 64.1: 43-59.
Journal Article

Particularly during the westward expansion, the frontier was not just a concrete site of conquest, exploration, and settlement but also a space of projection and imagination of (future) possibilities. People not only imagined the frontier in a variety of sometimes incompatible ways. They also used such imaginations to process and order their experience of the concrete, ‘real-life’ space so that the frontier becomes a space in which both, the lived and the imagined space, overlap and merge. This essay looks at how two popular antebellum writers used material objects and related cultural practices in their narrative construction of frontier space, arguing that, from this perspective, narrative space ceases to be only a property of the text and extends into the object world. Drawing on their own experience of life in the east, Caroline Kirkland and Eliza Farnham use gender- and class-based ideologies of taste and refinement to make the unknown space of the frontier meaningful and familiar, thus turning it from a mere place to live into something like a home. Such a use of material culture in the narrative construction of this space allows both writers to comment on and shape the ideological underpinnings of the frontier and, by extension, take part in the (narrative) construction of future America.