According to an associate Professor of English at George Mason University, Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Jewett and Morrison are “cultural archivists” (Mobley 8) In her book, Folk Roots and Mythic Wings in Sarah Orne Jewett and Toni Morrison, Mobley extensively compares these two authors’ and explores the characters Jewett created to those Morrison uses. So what is Mobley referring to when she labels Jewett and Morrison as “cultural archivists”? To further instigate the insightful label Mobley has given to Jewett and Morrison, it is necessary to establish a definition of what a cultural archivist is. According to The Society of American Archivists, “The primary task of the archivist is to establish and maintain control, both physical and intellectual, over records of enduring value”. Basically, Jewett and Morrison are seen as two authors that thru their writing have maintained control over the cultural records of enduring value. Jewett’s work shows more of the class and gender roles whereas Morrison adds on by the racial difference. In one of Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eye, she states a memorable quote, “I am a poor Black woman,” when counting her misfortunes (Gillman). This shows that being poor is unfortunate, but being a woman adds to the unfortunate. Was Morrison’s work just coincidentally following a similar pattern that almost any author could have adapted or has it really been influenced? by Jewett's previous work The only way to explore in-depth this question is to first examine briefly who Jewett was and what her work was about. Jewett was a nineteenth century American novelist and short story writer. She was a Caucasian living in New England (Eakin). Though her race put her in the dominant privilege in America, her early childhood rheumatoid arthritis was not something that made life easy. She was born into a family where her father was a doctor, so she definitely was not living in poverty (Eakin). Not facing racial discrimination and coming from a nice background, what was the core of Jewett's stories
Being surrounded by books from an early age, Jewett eventually turned to writing. In 1884 she wrote A Country Doctor, which was a novel about a New England girl who rejects marriage to become a doctor. As can be seen, the core of Jewett's writing was in women's power (Eakin). In nineteenth century, the belief was still widely that men were the ones that brought the bread home. And for a woman to refuse marriage in order to continue her studies was not a popular ideal. Yet, her story depicted how a woman bravely refused the woman's typical gender roles in her pursuit of becoming a doctor.
Jewett, in her stories, wrote about what she had observed in her lifetime. Her stories usually had characters that were sea captains, sailors, and doctors. Growing up in a family where her