Twenty Years at Hull-House Essay - Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series Twenty Years at Hull-House Analysis

Jane Addams

Masterpieces of Women's Literature Twenty Years at Hull-House Analysis

The central issue in Hull-House is that the various socioeconomic classes have a reciprocal dependency and can therefore learn from one another. As Addams saw it, a settlement house would provide a place where “young women who had been given over too exclusively to study, might restore a balance of activity along traditional lines and learn of life from life itself.” Here was the crux of the matter: maintaining traditional lines while at the same time doing things that were very nontraditional. A few examples of Hull-House residents will demonstrate this mode of operation. Julia Lathrop, a lawyer, moved to Hull-House in 1890 and soon became a member of the State Board of Charities and organized the first juvenile court. Florence Kelley was the first factory inspector for the State of Illinois, and one of her deputies, Alzina Stevens, became the first president of the Working Woman’s Union and later the first probation officer of the Cook County Juvenile Court. Alice Hamilton identified flies as the carriers of disease and later wrote Hamilton and Hardy’s Industrial Toxicology, which was printed in its fourth edition in 1983. At one point, Addams herself was named garbage inspector for her ward, which shocked her neighbors, because that was “unwomanly work.” Addams replied that if it was a womanly task to nurse the sick, then it certainly was a womanly task to prevent those conditions that caused the illness. As one biography opined: “She revolted against the stereotype of woman as...

(The entire section is 616 words.)