Sandoz Writing (Righting) History
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Mari Sandoz’s dedication to her research topics, personality, candor, and work ethic allowed her an intimate place alongside those she chose to write about. This yielded a moving written product. In the same way that Sandoz was able to infiltrate the groups she researched, they permeated Sandoz’s consciousness. As she developed story ideas and noted observations about Plains life, Sandoz encountered factions that she saw were unjustly treated. She utilized her platform as a writer to attempt to redress these injustices. Her work with Native Americans, women, and workers greatly touched the people she wrote about and, ultimately, for. This work considers how this frontierswoman was able to transgress gender boundaries and question authority about those she felt were disenfranchised. Her acerbic writing, in both her literary texts and letters, was remarkable in a time and place when and where women typically did not provide such pointed commentary. Mari Sandoz’s literary works were supported by extensive historical research, which employed ethnohistory, and detailed research notes to support her stories of both fiction and non-fiction. Her advocacy through her writing and personal efforts were important in shaping opinions in Nebraska and the United States. While Sandoz’s intricate work invites critique, analysis, and commentary, her work has remained obscure to scholars in either a historical or a literary sense. This work demonstrates the methodology by which Sandoz comments on issues of her time more accurately and, more importantly, the effect of her writing on those issues. The importance of this research is how Sandoz effectively comments about these issues and utilized her texts and letters to promote her advocacy, providing interest to feminist rhetoricians. Sandoz’s interventions are related to ongoing issues, as they demonstrate the ways by which an author can influence and affect public sympathy and awareness in order to effect change.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Constructing women: "Well-knit bone and nerve" -- Advocating for the working man/woman: laborers, farmers, and immigrants -- Stoking while stalking: Sandoz increases awareness while "stalking the ghost of Crazy Horse"