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Oh, Lizzie! Analysis

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Faber specifically directed Oh, Lizzie! toward the juvenile reader. By opening the story when Stanton is eleven, Faber immediately draws the young reader into the story with a vignette to which the reader can relate. Written in short paragraphs and chapters, the book moves rapidly from topic to topic. Faber’s writing style is breezy and informal; and the use of dialogue gives the book a personal dimension. The reader could easily be in the same room with the young Elizabeth Cady.

This style, filled with exclamations and a breathless quality, does not travel well into the later parts of the book. This approach gives Stanton a girlish quality that does not sit well on the stout, middle-aged leader of an important social movement. Thus, the style trivializes the accomplishments of Station. In defense of Faber’s style, however, nineteenth century female writers often sprinkled exclamation points throughout their writing and tended to gush and be girlish long past the age of girlhood.

Oh, Lizzie! offers a sympathetic, though simplistic, portrait of Stanton. Faber consistently writes supportively of Stanton’s life and emphasizes her capacity for moral indignation, her vitality and zest for life, and her independent spirit. Stanton early expressed her outrage at the law’s injustices toward women, shown by her desire to excise all discriminatory laws concerning women from her father’s law books. She was also conscious of the paternalistic discrimination that women faced, as exemplified by the refusal of the 1840 abolitionist convention to allow the full participation of the women delegates.

Stanton’s enthusiasm is indicated in the verve with which she entered each new enterprise or faced each new crisis. When forced by financial circumstances to move to Seneca Falls, New York, she threw herself “into domestic tasks like preserving strawberries and collecting recipes for pickles.” While in Seneca Falls, Stanton, Mott, and others arranged the first women’s rights convention in 1848. Stanton wrote a woman’s Declaration of Independence, which included the radical idea that women should be given the right to vote.

Exhibiting an independent spirit unusual in her time, Stanton traveled and lectured in the Midwest in order to provide her daughters with college educations. She also attended conventions and spoke to the New York state legislature on women’s issues more than once.

Faber only hints at the concomitant frustrations that Stanton must have experienced. A woman of great energy and enterprise was tied down by a growing family in a small, sleepy backwater for the most productive and active years of her life. Henry Stanton denied Elizabeth the equal partnership that he had promised during...

(The entire section is 654 words.)