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The home-maker por Dorothy Canfield Fisher
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The home-maker (original 1924; edição 1999)

por Dorothy Canfield Fisher

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3571454,352 (4.26)64
Selected as one of the 500 greatest books every written by a woman, The Home-maker is a novel that will entertain and intrigue a whole new generation of readers. "Although this novel first appeared in 1924, it deals in an amazingly contemporary manner with the problems of a family in which both husband and wife are oppressed and frustrated by the roles that they are expected to play. Evangeline Knapp is the perfect, compulsive housekeeper, while her husband, Lester, is a poet and a dreamer. Suddenly, through a nearly fatal accident, their roles re reversed: Lester is confined to home in a wheelchair and his wife must work to support the family. The changes that take place between husband and wife, parents and children, are both fascinating and poignant. The characters are brought to life in a vivid, compelling way in a powerful novel more relevant now than when it was first published." - Midwest Book Review.… (mais)
Membro:mcmahon
Título:The home-maker
Autores:Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Informação:London : Persephone Books, 1999.
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:lit

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The Home-Maker por Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1924)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I loved this 1920s book that flips the typical man/woman roles on its head. The Knapps are a family of five struggling to get by. Lester, the father, is hopeless at getting along at work, constantly making errors and not progressing at all. Eva, the mother, runs a beautifully functioning household on her husband's meager salary, but is constantly slaving away and feeling stifled by her housework and her needy children. Everyone in the family has healthy problems and their youngest child, Stephen, is acknowledged by all their acquaintances as a terror, despite Eva's excellent mothering.

Then all is flipped on its head when an accident leads to a role reversal, Eva going out to work and Lester staying home to mind the kids. Though all feel sorry for them, they end up flourishing in these circumstances. But what will happen if all goes back to "normal"?

This book powerfully examines society's expectations for men and women and what happens when those expectations just do not fit. I loved it. ( )
  japaul22 | Dec 27, 2019 |
On the surface, this seems like it should be a cheesy book, but it really is thought provoking. ( )
  TheLoisLevel | Jul 28, 2018 |
I read slightly more than a third of this novel, originally published in 1924. It concerns 40ish Evangeline Knapp who performs her housewifely duties intensely and aggressively. Meals are on the table at the designated hour, the Knapp house is meticulously kept, the furniture is tastefully made over (with beautiful donated fabric) and smartly arranged in spite of the family’s poverty, the children’s special health needs are attended to . . . and Evangeline is completely and utterly miserable in her limited sphere. Her only outings each week consist of attending the local ladies’ guild and church, where she is much admired for her managerial skills, taste, and competence. She resents her husband, Lester, a university English literature graduate with digestive problems. An impractical man, better at spouting poetry than gaining advancement in his job at the town’s department store, Lester is never openly criticized by his wife, but she seethes below the surface. When Lester is let go by the ambitious young proprietor of the local store and is subsequently seriously injured assisting a neighbour whose house is on fire, Evangeline seeks work outside the home, not surprisingly at Willing’s department store—where the unsatisfactory Lester formerly worked. Of course, she takes to work in the store like a fish to water, quickly familiarizing herself with the stock and intuitively sizing up customers.

While competently written, Canfield Fisher’s book is didactic and heavy handed. I was well on the way to the halfway mark when I decided not to finish the book. I simply didn’t care to read any more about the central character’s triumphs on the sales floor. I suspected the plot might thicken, but I was far from confident it would. I can imagine this novel was revolutionary in its time, suggesting that a husband might be better suited to life at home with the children than his ambitious wife, but the book’s historical significance and its highlighting of the dissatisfaction that both husbands and wives might feel with traditional marital arrangements weren’t enough to keep me going. In short, I was bored. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Mar 1, 2018 |
Thank you Simon, from The Readers, for turning me on to Persephone Books! If you haven't discovered this amazing publisher yet, I hope you look them up and consider buying some of their titles. You won't be disappointed!
http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk

( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
The very, very best novels leave me struggling for words, quite unable to capture what it is that makes them so extraordinary.

The Home-Maker is one of those novels. It was published in the 1920s, it is set in small town American, and yet it feels extraordinarily relevant.

the-home-makerIt is the story of the Knapp family – Evangeline, Lester and their children, Helen, Henry and Stephen. A family that was unhappy, because both parents were trapped in the roles that society dictated a mother and a father should play.

The word saw Evangeline as the perfect wife and mother. Her house was always immaculate, she was a capable cook, her needlework was flawless, and she had the gift of being to make lovely clothes, and wonderful things for the home, from the simplest materials.

The members of the Ladies’ Guild were in awe of her, and they knew that, whatever question they had, Evangeline would have the answer. But they didn’t understand why her husband was so down-trodden, why Helen was so shy, why Henry has ‘a nervous stomach’, or why Stephen was so very naughty.

But, if Evangeline’s quest for perfection was unsettling for them it was hell for her family. They had to live with her high standards, her quest for perfection, and she was desperately unhappy at the prospect of endless days of drudgery.

“Henry had held the platter tilted as he carried the steak in yesterday. And yet if she had warned him once about that, she had a thousand times! Warned him, and begged of him, and implored him to be careful. The children simply paid no attention to what she said. None. She might as well talk to the wind. Hot grease too! That soaked into the wood so, She would never get it clean.”

And Lester was no happier. He hated his job in the account office of a department store, that kept him away from his children, that pinned him down, that stole the time he desperately wanted to think and create.

Now I may make that sound horribly dark and depressing. But it isn’t, because Dorothy Canfield Fisher makes her characters live and breathe, makes their situation utterly real, and pulls her readers into the lives of the Knapp family.

Something had to change, or something was going to break.

Something changed; Lester lost his job. He contemplated suicide, believing that his family would be better off without him, but fate had something else in store. He saw a fire at a neighbour’s house; he rushed in to help, unconcerned for his own safety; and then he fell from their roof as he tried to extinguish the flames.

Lester survived, but he was confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or work.

Evangeline realised that she has to keep the family going. She applied for a job at the store where her husband had worked and the owners, sympathetic to the family’s situation and aware of Evangeline’s reputation, decided to give her a chance.

They didn’t regret it: Evangeline’s organisational skills, her attention to detail, her determination to find a solution to every problem, had found the right home. She was promoted and very soon she was earning more than her husband ever had. She came home at the end of the day tired, but happy and fulfilled.

Meanwhile, Lester stayed at home with the children and took on the role of home-maker. His talents found their natural home too, and housework and thinking went together in a way that thinking and book-keeping never had. He worked with his children to manage the cooking and the cleaning.

“The attic was piled to the eaves with old newspapers. Every day Helen or Henry brings down a fresh supply. We spread them around two or three thick , drop our grease on the with all the peace of mind in the world, whisk them up at night before Eva comes in, and have a spotless floor to show her.”

And he found time to talk to them, to draw them together as a family, to understand their concerns, to make them feel loved and valued. He talked to Helen about her hopes and dreams; he learned that Henry has a dog, kept at a friend’s house because he didn’t think he would be allowed to bring it home; and he discovered that much of Stephen’s naughtiness stemmed from his fear that his mother would subject his beloved teddy bear to trial by washing machine. Lester coped with all of this, and much more, quite magnificently.

Evangeline, with her work to engage her, with her responsibility for housework taken from her, finds herself able to come home and relax and enjoy her time with her family. She had always loved them, of course she had, but she couldn’t cope with being at home all the time.

The family thrived, and the neighbours were astonished. It wasn’t what they had expected at all!

All of this was quite wonderful to watch, and the narrative shifting between family members worked quite beautifully.

And Dorothy Canfield Fisher did something rather clever, that brought the central question of this story into sharp focus.

The owners of the department store, Mr and Mrs Willing had found a wonderful way to balance their family and their business life. Mrs Willing was happy at home with the family, and she worked on business ideas at her kitchen table, while her husband went out to manage the day-to-day running of their story.

Different families need different solutions!

And that makes it clear that there is a bigger question here than how society should look at women who want to work outside the home, and at men who are happy to play significant roles in the home.

Should every family, every person, not be able to work out how to do things in the way that works best for them without having to worry about what the world may think … ?

We’ve come some way since this book was published, in 1924, but we aren’t there yet.

The Knapp family faces a crisis when Lester and Evangeline have to face the fact that his paralysis is psychological, that there is nothing physically preventing him walking again. Neither can face the possibility of going back to the way things were, but neither is brave enough to defy convention.

Both are in turmoil: it’s a little melodramatic, but the emotions are true and the dilemma utterly real.

It is left to a wise, and far-sighted, doctor to save them.

A little neat maybe, but the story needed the resolution.

It brought the important issues, about how to live, how to share responsibilities, how to raise children, to the fore.

I went on thinking about the book for a long time after I put it down. ( )
1 vote BeyondEdenRock | May 11, 2016 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Dorothy Canfield Fisherautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Knox, KarenIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Showalter, ElainePosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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These were the moments in a mother's life about which nobody ever warned you, about which everybody kept a deceitful silence, the fine book and the speakers who had so much to say about the sacredness of maternity. They never told you that there were moments of arid clear sight when you saw helplessly that your children would never measure up to your standard, never would be really close to you, because these were not your kind of human beings, because they were not your children, but merely other human beings for whom you were responsible. How solitary it made you feel!
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Selected as one of the 500 greatest books every written by a woman, The Home-maker is a novel that will entertain and intrigue a whole new generation of readers. "Although this novel first appeared in 1924, it deals in an amazingly contemporary manner with the problems of a family in which both husband and wife are oppressed and frustrated by the roles that they are expected to play. Evangeline Knapp is the perfect, compulsive housekeeper, while her husband, Lester, is a poet and a dreamer. Suddenly, through a nearly fatal accident, their roles re reversed: Lester is confined to home in a wheelchair and his wife must work to support the family. The changes that take place between husband and wife, parents and children, are both fascinating and poignant. The characters are brought to life in a vivid, compelling way in a powerful novel more relevant now than when it was first published." - Midwest Book Review.

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