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by Emma Dunham Kelley
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Megda, a novel so popular in 1891 that it was reprinted the following year, tells the story of the conversion experiences of a group of young, middle-class Baptist women and their subsequent--or even consequent--marriages. A prime example of what has been called "girl's fiction," as distinct
from the "women's fiction" that preceded it, Megda embodies the shift from a limit-breaking genre to limit-enforcing one. In it, racial issues are only indirectly addressed, gentility is a concern ranking only second to salvation, and humility and obedience are prerequisites to a woman's acceptance
by the Christian community. In essence, this is a novel of socialization rather than of social protest. But, in expressing the values of its culture, Megda illuminates the limitations faced by doubly stigmatized people: people both black and female.
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