Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Adulthood and Other FictionsAmerican Literature and the Unmaking of Age$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sari Edelstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831884

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831884.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 March 2021



The New Old Age

(p.140) Coda
Adulthood and Other Fictions

Sari Edelstein

Oxford University Press

The coda brings together the concerns of the book via a reading of Charles Chesnutt’s “The Wife of his Youth.” Through an examination of this story, the coda pursues some of the questions raised in the final two chapters about the representation of elderly characters and about caregiving, individualism, and autonomy. I argue that the story’s treatment of age markers in relation to social hierarchies and historical trauma suggests ways not only to read them critically but also to engage them ethically. That is, the story urges its resistant readers toward an accountability to vulnerable populations, a responsibility that can seem onerous, even grotesque, in an age in which ideals of individualism, autonomy, and acquisition prevail. Ultimately, the coda positions the book in relation to contemporary concerns about growing old in a neoliberal climate that stigmatizes dependence and repose.

Keywords:   Charles Chesnutt, Reconstruction, elderly, dependence, neoliberalism, individualism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .