Summoning but reconfiguring the sentimental novel, Lillie Devereux Blake's Fettered for Life (1874) uses pathos to incite political action and begin a radical reform of patriarchal postbellum America. Of particular interest to Blake are suffrage, legal protection of women's lives and property, educational reform, and equitable pay and employment opportunities. In Fettered for Life there are eight suspicious or unnatural deaths which Blake links to a corrupt social order and archaic, ill-founded assumptions about women and womanhood. This article explores Blake's reform agenda and her use and revisioning of sentimentalism for rhetorical purposes.
Jacobs, Heidi. (2000). "Well, seriously, Flora, what can we women do?" Sentimentalism, Suffrage and Reform in Lillie Devereaux Blake's Fettered for Life. Nineteenth-Century Prose, 27 (2), 62-78.