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Thoughts and Things

Clare, Ada. "Thoughts and Things." New-York Saturday Press. 27 Oct. 1860: 2.

In this column, Clare discusses several popular conventions of modern fiction, beginning with the prevalence of the hero's white cravat. Clare then relates a story that her grandfather told her as a child that is constantly found in modern fiction. Clare satirically retells the story of the ambitious literary woman in the metropolis who discovers after experiencing literary success that her life is empty without a husband, children, and domestic duty. Clare mocks the heroine's redemption in the countryside with a reverend for a husband and five children. Clare also gives a satirical summary of the plots of novels about suspicious young women. She notes that the story begins with a nice young heroine and an honorable hero who are separated by a misunderstanding that makes the young woman positive that the hero is cheating on her. The lovers are parted for hundreds of pages, only to be reunited on page 979 as more mature beings. A rational explanation for the misunderstanding is given, and the lovers are reunited. Clare's satircal summaries serve to expose the unnecessary length of many of these stories, as well as their dependence on restrictive social expectations and dramatic irony.

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