Battling Girlhood: Sympathy, Social Justice, and the Tomboy Figure in American Literature, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Battling Girlhood

Sympathy, Social Justice, and the Tomboy Figure in American Literature, 1st Edition

By Kristen B. Proehl


164 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780815368687
pub: 2018-07-03
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429453212
pub: 2018-07-11
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From Jo March of Little Women (1868) to Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games (2008), the American tomboy figure has evolved into an icon of modern girlhood and symbol of female empowerment. Battling Girlhood: Sympathy, Social Justice, and the Tomboy Figure in American Literature traces the development of the tomboy figure from its origins in nineteenth-century sentimental novels to twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and film.

Table of Contents



1 Tomboys in Rag Alley: Understanding Cap Black and the Sentimental Tradition

2 Teaching Jo: Philanthropy, Education, and the Tomboy Trajectory in Louisa May Alcott’s Trilogy

3 Tomboys on the Prairie: Violence, Discipline, and Community in the Little House Series

4 Queer Sentiments: Tomboyism and Familial Belonging in Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding

5 Scout as Social Critic: Sympathetic Alliances in To Kill a Mockingbird

6 Beasts of the Southern Wild: Queer Childhood, Race, and the Dystopian South


Works Cited


About the Author

Kristen Proehl is an assistant professor of English at SUNY-Brockport, where she teaches courses in children’s and young adult literature. Her work has appeared in Jeunesse, The Journal of Lesbian Studies, and several essay collections. She is currently working on a second book project on queer friendship in adolescent literature.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Women