What is the significance of the title of Daughter of Fortune?

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In the case of Eliza Sommers, the heroine of the novel Daughter of Fortune, the title can be taken quite literally, since Eliza was born into comparatively wealthy circumstances. However, I believe that the title is compelling for other reasons.

It is ironic that in a novel with this title, Eliza is forced to dress as a man twice. The first time is when she is on the ship from Chile to California - having just miscarried - and her friend Tao Chi'en helps disguise her as a Chinese boy. The second occurrence is when Eliza sets off from San Francisco in search of Joaquin while dressed as a cowboy named Elias Andieta (Joaquin's supposed brother). In both of these cases, Eliza would be in terrible danger were her true identity to be known. I believe that many men in this novel are threatened by smart, strong women like Eliza. It seems she has to mask her womanhood to be heard.

Near the end of the novel, Tao Chi'en and Eliza begin trying to eradicate prostitution and save young Chinese women...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 584 words.)

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