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Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature

Carol J. Singley


American literature abounds with orphans who experience adoption or placements that resemble adoption. These stories do more than recount the adventures of children living away from home. They tell an American story of family and national identity. In narratives from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century, adoption functions as narrative event and trope that describes the American migratory experience, the impact of Calvinist faith, and the growth of democratic individualism. The roots of literary adoption appear in the discourse of Puritan settlers, who ambivalently took leave of thei ... More

Keywords: children, adoption, genealogy, orphan, family, American literature, children’s literature, domestic fiction, national identity, culture, social conditions, nuture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199779390
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199779390.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Carol J. Singley, author
Rutgers University (Camden)
Author Webpage