Charlotte Temple!


Rowson has created a sentimental and moralistic text that both interacts with her readers and asks them to engage in the dialogue of the dangers presented to young middle class American women (circa eighteenth century). Taking on a motherly persona, the narrator continuously pushes the reader in the direction that will gain him or her the most knowledge, while representing the “moralness” of the readers by inserting a variety of metafictional insertions. At its core, the novel recommends various appropriate kinship relationships, and disdains others. The sisterhood is seen as appropriate, as there is danger in aloneness, especially with men. However, there can also be danger in sisterhood, and really the only safe place is in listening to one’s parents. Rowson’s story is a vehicle for helping her readers know how and what they are pursuing as the novel itself dictates what is meant to be story, and what is meant to be instructive.