Gloriana's Crime Blog

On Trial for Lunacy

This reading reminded me of some other readings we have done because of how theatrical and dramatic it was, even though this reading goes beyond the other ones. At first I wasn’t even sure how true crime would fit into the story that was unfolding and then in the last few pages it got crazy.

Like Paul the quote of  “But who would have remembered it then, a man killing his wife?” stuck out to me. It makes me think about how because it seems murderers who are women are more rare, their stories are everywhere and are very popular.  If it was a man killing his wife or lover, we might hear about it but certainly not with the same attention to the actual love story. Instead the author might write about the childhood of the man and how he grew up. I think it was especially popular because of the forbiddenness of the relationship between the two girls.

I also thought it was strange that the girls were encouraged to have relationships with each other because “it kept girls from good families from ruining themselves with men before marriage.” However the instant two girls became serious with their relationship it was completely unacceptable and seen as lunacy. Alice was on trial for lunacy for loving Fred and not murdering her.


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  1. 10/8/2013 | 1:10 pm Permalink

    At first when i started reading it I thought we were changing the class from true crime to true love. But as you go further into the reading you started to realize that maybe something really ugly is about to happen. I think youre right that the reason why this was so popular is because of the relationship and it was girl on girl murder. This was the worse crime in Memphis because a girl slit another girls throat, but im sure there was worse crimes that happened than that

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  2. 10/8/2013 | 4:56 pm Permalink

    What makes it memorable, however, is the fact that the culture reponded to Alice Mitchell’s discussion of her feelings. The vision that she is truly in love with Frederica is where the whole narrative moves into the realm of insanity for the culture. In my mind, that is where the story is. Not so much one woman killed another, but everyone’s populr reaction.

    What’s more, I too was fascinated by a culture’s ability to tolerate homosexuality in a rich girls school at the point it prepared and protected them for their hetero life. The structure of the culture seem jsut as pwoerful in determining the way everyone sees this crime.

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