Male and Female. In a pair: the emotional atmosphere following a death and its intersection with gender and with public and semi-public space in Newfoundland through the 1960s and 1970s

Lafferty, Anne (2011) Male and Female. In a pair: the emotional atmosphere following a death and its intersection with gender and with public and semi-public space in Newfoundland through the 1960s and 1970s. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis considers the emotional atmosphere in the first few days following a death and the customs that expressed and partially created that atmosphere in Newfoundland, during the twentieth century, up through the demise of the house wake. Geographically, the thesis focuses primarily on the areas where I did fieldwork, St. John’s, the Bay Roberts area, and two Northern Peninsula communities, Conche and St. Lunaire-Griquet. -- I examine solemnity, sorrow, and revelry, which were important components of the emotional atmosphere, and focus on one particular custom for each: the funeral procession for solemnity, crying and lamentation for sorrow, and party behaviours at wakes for revelry. I analyse the ways in which these customs intersected with gender and with the use of public or semi-public space. In St. John’s and sometimes in the Bay Roberts area, one of the most public aspects of death rites, the funeral procession, excluded women. In many rural areas, however, both sexes were included, and the structure of the procession often highlighted the participation of both genders. -- Similarly, there was considerable variation in how much expression of grief was acceptable. In St. John’s stoicism was valued, but in rural areas intense emotional expression was often expected. No matter what the local customs, women usually had more leeway than men to express grief. Emotion might be expressed both in semi-public areas, such as the church and graveyard. When women were excluded from the procession, they thus were also excluded from the most public expressions of sorrow. -- Typically, both men and women took part in wakes, but they sometimes behaved quite differently. In communities with significant revelry, men were more active participants in some aspects of partying. They appear to have often been the most dominant and noticeable participants in the semi-public context of the home wake during the night. -- The gendered variations of these customs reflected differing ideas about not only appropriate demeanour and emotional expression, but also men’s and women’s roles in society, particularly their places in the public sphere.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10838
Item ID: 10838
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 386-407).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Wake services--Sex differences--Newfoundland and Labrador; Wake services--Social aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador; Expression--Sex differences--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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