Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Pursuing Respect in the Cannibal IslesAmericans in Nineteenth-Century Fiji$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nancy Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740343

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740343.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

By a Lady

By a Lady

Moral Authority

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter 4 By a Lady
Source:
Pursuing Respect in the Cannibal Isles
Author(s):

Nancy Shoemaker

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501740343.003.0005

This chapter analyzes sea captain's wife Mary D. Wallis's Life in Feejee: Five Years Among the Cannibals, By a Lady (1851) to illustrate how she challenged the double standard of gendered respectability in her own society by claiming the credentials to speak about Fijians' moral inequities. On its surface, Life in Feejee is formulaic in its awe for sublime scenery, lurid fantasies of cannibal feasting, and hopes for Christian redemption. On a deeper level, Wallis's book endures as one of the most highly regarded sources for nineteenth-century Fiji history. Since Life in Feejee had origins in Wallis's private journals, presumably she initially wrote with only herself and intimate acquaintances as audience. However, as a published book, Life in Feejee became useful to others—people in her own time and historians, who would later appreciate her careful recordkeeping of events and personages. For her contemporaries, Life in Feejee's advocacy of the missionary cause sounded a call to arms for changing Fijian culture through foreign intervention. More profoundly, the example Wallis set of a bold and knowing woman conducting a kind of personal conquest in Fiji offered readers an entry point into questioning and reframing their own society's rules surrounding gendered propriety.

Keywords:   Mary D. Wallis, gendered respectability, Fijians, moral inequities, cannibal feasting, Christian redemption, Fiji history, Fijian culture, foreign intervention, missionary cause

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.