Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fanny Kemble and Micro-history

Prior to Jill Lepore's speech on micro-history, I had never even heard of the word. I thought it was informative, but I still was a little unsure as to what it exactly meant. I felt like I needed to hear or read about an actual micro-history before I completely understood what it was. I also got confused as to what the difference between a narrative and a micro-history was. After reading the article, I thought they were one in the same, but I was wrong. In heinz sight, I wish that Mr. Quigley had explained what a micro-history was prior to reading that article because, like I said, I was still a little confused after reading it. If I had had a better idea of what a micro- history was, I probably would have gotten more out of the journal entries.

After reading the article on Fanny Kemble as well as her journal, I began to grasp a better understanding. I was surprised I had never heard about this woman in history class, because she seems like she was pretty influential. I usually see plantation owner's wives to have the same views as their husbands, but I was proven wrong. It sounds like her and her husband has a pretty toxic relationship, yet they stayed together for quite some time. It seemed apparent to me that these two were not going to make a good couple given their opposing social viewpoints, yet they had another kid even after these conflicts were established. I also enjoyed Kemble's writing style. It was satirical and sassy, which made it more interesting to read and thus follow along. I also liked how it was a primary source that we were reading. Kemble actually experienced these things, which makes it way more interesting than reading it out of a textbook.

I also really enjoyed Mr. Quigley's presentation. It was very easy to follow with the way the slides were set up, and the topic in itself was very interesting to me. In particular, I found it interesting how Kemble lost custody of both of her daughters. Like we were saying, that is incredibly rare in today's society, and Kemble seemed like she was a loving and capable mother. I also found it interesting how Kemble and her husband were similar to celebrities today. I was unaware that people cared as much about famous people back then as they do now, so this came as a shock to me. Mr. Quigley cleared up my confusion of micro-histories as well. This story was not just a story of Fanny vs. her husband, but also one of the north vs. south with slavery and secession, feminism and patriarchy, 'Lost Cause' vs. reconstruction and bigotry vs. civility.

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