Hypocritical Ideology (10)

HARRIET WILSON’S OUR NIG: A LOOK AT THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF A NOVEL THAT EXPOSES A CENTURY’S WORTH OF HYPOCRITICAL IDEOLOGY

ELWOOD-FARBER, LISA.

In the article, Elwood-Farber addresses the how white religious women of the 19th century  were hypocrites to their own beliefs and how Harriet Wilson covers the hypocrisy in the novel: “Harriet Wilson unveils the hypocrisy of the Christian people of the North who claim homage to their father in heaven, yet do not look upon another human being as a person rather than just a “nig.” Wilson’s critique of Northern racism includes the North’s

assumptions on piety as a result of her experiences with hypocriti- cal, religious people. As true womanhood demands, women in the nineteenth century represented model Christians who personified charity, compassion, and love of God.”

Also, Elwood-Farber mentions how Wilson creates this sympathizing character Frado where white women will draw to, but in reality they’d do the same or something similar to as Mrs. Bellmont or Aunt Abby would do:  “Frado’s only two examples prove just the opposite. Mrs. Bellmont represents the she-devil and Aunt Abbey is more complicated since she seems helpful, yet refuses to leave her position of comfort and security for just a “nig.” As Margaret Lindgren illustrates, the two women represent brutality and benevolence. Aunt Abbey tries to stand up to Mrs. Bellmont’s abusive acts and horrid treatment of Frado, however only until Mrs. Bellmont’s wrath turns on Abbey and either humiliates her or banishes her to her own apartments. It seems that white people who are willing to feel sympathy for Frado have strict limitations on their charitable acts.”

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