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The Captain's Widow of SandwichSelf-Invention and the Life of Hannah Rebecca Burgess, 1834-1917$
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Megan Taylor Shockley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783191

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783191.001.0001

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Rebecca at Sea

Rebecca at Sea

Fashioning a New Identity

(p.57) 3 Rebecca at Sea
The Captain's Widow of Sandwich

Megan Taylor Shockley

NYU Press

This chapter shows how Rebecca's journals reveal the transition of her personality from young bride to sea captain's wife. Rebecca's entries illustrate new facets of her relationship with William, which depict his personality aboard ship. Throughout her journey, Rebecca noted both her reliance on and independence from traditional Victorian definitions of womanhood. She became a social commentator on sailors and their lives, as well as the lands she visited, and revealed her sentiments about life on the sea by using language to justify her position away from the defined domestic sphere of traditional womanhood. She cast herself as the protagonist of an adventure story, enjoying and writing down in great detail the experiences of maritime life. Her journals reflect her growing sense of self, as defined by the maritime world of which she had become a part.

Keywords:   Rebecca's journals, sea captain's wife, William Burgess, Victorian womanhood, life at sea, traditional womanhood, adventure story, maritime life

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