George Wharton James (essay date 1913)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Facts and Fictions of Ramona,” in Through Ramona's Country, Little Brown and Company, 1913, pp. 22-62.

[In the following excerpt, James explores Jackson's use of actual events in the creation of the fictional world of Ramona and praises her descriptions of natural surroundings.]

There are those in Ramonaland who will tell you that Ramona is fiction from beginning to end. They will go further. They will denounce the story as untrue to fact, in that it gives too highly colored descriptions of the scenery and too exalted a conception of the Indians. With these critics I take decided issue. As I have shown in the chapter, “A Climatic...

(The entire section is 11056 words.)

John R. Byers, Jr. (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Indian Matter of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona: From Fact to Fiction,” in American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 3, Autumn, 1975, pp. 331-46.

[In the following essay, Byers contends that factual descriptions included in Ramona, especially those concerning Ramona and Alessandro's flight and search for security, closely mirror information Jackson had submitted as part of her Mission Indian report.]

In 1881 Helen Hunt Jackson published her A Century of Dishonor, one of the most scathing indictments of the United States Government on the treatment of the Indian population, or on any other charges, ever put forth. The work was the...

(The entire section is 7358 words.)

Michael T. Marsden (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Helen Hunt Jackson: Docudramatist of The American Indian,” in The Markham Review, Vol. 10, Fall, 1980, pp. 15-19.

[In the following essay, Marsden presents a brief overview of Jackson's life and works and comments that it wasn’t until Jackson became involved with Native American affairs that her remarkable writing abilities found an adequate outlet.]

To The Memory of Helen Hunt Jackson: The Most Brilliant, Impetuous and Thoroughly Individual Woman of American Literature

What songs found voice upon those lips,
          What magic dwelt within the pen,
Whose music into silence slips,
          Whose...

(The entire section is 4112 words.)

Rosemary Whitaker (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Helen Hunt Jackson, Boise State University, 1987, pp. 24–39.

[In the following excerpt, Whitaker traces the beginnings of the author's interest in the Native American political cause, providing an overview of Jackson's nonfiction writing on the subject, including A Century of Dishonor.]

By 1879 Jackson was restless and uncertain about the direction her writing should take. Late in the year she decided to return to the East to see if a change of environment would revitalize her. Her future was decided by a chance encounter. While visiting in Boston, she went to a reception sponsored by a group of prominent citizens who were alive with indignation over the U.S....

(The entire section is 4973 words.)

Valerie Sherer Mathes (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Ramona, Its Successes and Failures,” in Helen Hunt Jackson and Her Indian Reform Legacy, University of Texas Press, 1990, pp. 76-94.

[In the following essay, Mathes explains that while the author intended to use Ramona as a means to awaken pubic interest in the condition of Native Americans, the work has enjoyed far greater success as a love story.]

By November 1883, with the report and her Independent articles completed, Jackson could reflect upon a job well done. She and Kinney had saved several tracts of land and had removed what they believed to be an immoral teacher. In addition, much to Jackson's pleasure, Lawson had resigned as...

(The entire section is 10237 words.)

Carol E. Schmudde (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Sincerity, Secrecy, and Lies: Helen Hunt Jackson's No Name Novels,” in Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 21, No. 1, Spring, 1993, pp. 51-66.

[In the following essay, Schmudde contends that although Jackson was an accomplished essayist, poet and short story writer, she did not realize the full potential and power of her writing abilities until she began publishing her work under her own name. The essay also contains an overview of Jackson's early novels, concluding with a brief analysis of Jackson's eventual involvement with the Native American cause.]

Until the last six years of her life, Helen Hunt Jackson's career as a nineteenth-century American women...

(The entire section is 6995 words.)

David Luis-Brown (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘White Slaves’ and the ‘Arrogant Mestiza’: Reconfiguring Whiteness in The Squatter and the Don and Ramona,” in American Literature, Vol. 69, No. 4, December, 1997, pp. 813-39.

[In the following essay about Ramonaand The Squatter and the Don, Luis-Brown theorizes that through their use of sentimentality, both works attempt to shape the reader's politics and to question white male authority over marginalized groups.]

Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona (1884) and The Squatter and the Don (1885) by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton are indisputably political novels, representing conflicts over land, class position,...

(The entire section is 10283 words.)