Yet, to complete the character Dorinda's liberation resides in the fact that she discovers that she has also inherited good character traits from her father. As she becomes a more fully developed character she realizes the strength of her connection to the land and to tradition.

A what gives Dorinda her sense of independence and allows her to escape the futility of her father's life is her realization that she has inherited good traits from her father as well as her mother. For despite his limitations, he has maintained throughout his life a closeness to nature that has allowed him to endure. This "kinship with the land" has been passed along to Dorinda "through her blood into her brain; and she knew that this transfigured instinct was blended of pity, memory, and passion." This, combined with the determination to overcome and rise above obstacles, a trait inherited from her mother, allows her to find her life's work in successful farming (pp. 233-236).

(Carr, 1996)

Though Carr redeems his opinion of Galsgow through a fair interpretation of Dorinda he still seems to have a simplistic view of the subtlety of Glasgow's work. Having read the novel it is clear that the defining character, Dorinda is going through a period of growth that enables her to see her father and eldest brother as people of merit, regardless of their coarse natures. Dorinda embraces her growth and accepts the ideals that are a part of her heritage. Though stating that the character Dorinda loses her expectations or "has learned to live without joy," seems harsh. Dorinda has learned that reducing her expectations of others and the future, especially where she can have so little real impact makes her a more happy peaceful person not a less happy person.

Though Carr contends that there is no real solution offered for the dichotomy of old vs. new or traditional vs. modern, the real interpretation lies in the idea that each step toward anything is gradual. Dorinda realizes that she has a lack of control over just how much change can occur and though this may be sad because she seems to lose so much of her vision through this realization she also acknowledges the vision in what is right in from of her, the land, her family and a simple life. Dorinda learns that it is alright to be just who she is and not ruin her own life by constantly trying to manipulate and alter her situation.

The context of Glasgow's era was marked by the desire for characters that were believable to women, who lived real lives in America. There was little glamour to be had and the audience Glasgow was trying to reach wanted to hear that there was hope in everyday life and that there was admiration for enduring a simple existence with pride. Dorinda was a complete character because she could be looked up to and at the same time sympathized with. There were thousands of housewives reading Glasgow's works and they wanted to hear and feel belonging. Often times the readers were victims of the circumstances of their lives, their heritage, their marriages. Without characters such as Dorinda many women would not have been able to sympathize to enough degree to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading an inspiring tale. When you can change nothing else, you must find value in that which you cannot change. It might not seem very feminist but Glasgow's audience was real women chasing the coarse and dirty sand of their life out of their homes.


Carr, D.R. (1996). Heroism and tragedy: the rise of the redneck in Glasgow's fiction. The Mississippi Quarterly, 49(2), 333+. Retrieved June 2, 2003, from Questia database,