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Old Book, New Look: Exploring Resilience and Self-Help in The Power of Sympathy and Educated

Journal: International Journal of English, Literature and Social Science (Vol.5, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 1162-1171

Keywords : Human Resilience; self-help; self-awareness; education; Power of Sympathy; Educated.;

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This paper aims to portray how certain literary works, when read closely, initiate ideas of resistance, resilience and self-awareness, which are at the same time part of the equipment of self-help. This concept of self-help, I propose, is communicated through different forms of self-education. My readings of what is considered by many to be the first American novel, The Power of Sympathy(1789), and the very recent memoir by Tara Westover, Educated(2018), are exemplary studies for such claims. I maintain that where 18th century conduct books intended to educate the younger minds of “the fairer sex,” today's memoir does something quite similar under a different guise: that of human resilience. In order to show the relation between resilience and self-help, I will proceed in three steps: first, I will briefly review the two concepts of self-help and resilience; second, I will provide close readings of the chosen texts from the perspective of resilience research: and third, thereby I will conclude by proposing that resilience is understood as a means to maintain ability and fend off dis-abilities―but as such it also unwittingly holds up normality and normativity without questioning the problematic nature of a society that demands such defenses.

Last modified: 2020-08-18 15:58:49