Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 14: No 2) >> Sentimental and Liberated Heroines: Bess Matthews and Mary Granger in The Yemassee >> Page 38

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Secondary Scholarship | 2006
Transcription him advice on how to fight a battle; improper social behavior does not fall
within her domestic sphere. On the other hand, Mary can permeate skillfully
the border between the male and female spheres.
With the creations of Bess Matthews and Mary Granger, Simms
revises Cooper's reliance on heroine types. Instead of a pure innocent who
deserves life at the expense of the dark, more experienced woman, Simms
creates a spectrum that develops the female heroine from a sentimental type
to a more realistic portrayal of a frontier figure. Mary's experience and
adaptability do not lead to her downfall, but rather contribute to her strength
and survival. Appropriately, Simms allows Mary the room for a shifting
identity within the novel that he hoped would be an "American epic" (Guilds
61). In The Yemassee, the changing reality from Old World convention to
New World unpredictability demands a flexible figure like Mary Granger.
She is a glance forward toward the "New Woman" of the new frontier.

Melanie R. Anderson

Works Cited

Ardis, Ann L. New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism. New Brunswick and
London: Rutgers UP, 1990.
Carpenter, Frederic I. "Puritans Preferred Blondes: The Heroines of Melville and Hawthorne."
The New England Quarterly. 9.2 (June 1936): 253-72.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans. 1826. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics,
Guilds, John Caldwell. Simms: A Literacy Life. Fayetteville: U of Arkansas P, 1992.
Simms, William Gilmore. The Yemassee. 1835. Fayetteville: U of Arkansas P, 1994.
Smith, Carlton. Coyote Kills John Wayne: Postmodernism and Contemporary Fictions of the
Transcultural Frontier. Hanover and London: UP of New England, 2000.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.