Liminal landscapes and liminal lives in Sarah Orne Jewett’s Strangers and Wayfarers.
Sarah Orne Jewett’s short story collection, Strangers and Wayfarers, unifies itself around explorations of liminal places and liminal people and dramatizes themes central to liminality and borderlands studies, postcolonial theory, and ecofeminism. I examine the representations of liminal settings and liminal subjects in the light of these theoretical frameworks in order to draw attention to Jewett’s tripartite purpose of recovery, preservation, and advocacy for the most vulnerable landscapes and people of her day. The first chapter of this project looks at the three categories of liminal space in the collection, the physical, cultural, and supernatural, culminating in amplifying Jewett’s call to action against the homogenization of modern urbanity. The second chapter considers the types of liminal figures found in the collection, the transient, the queer, the monster, and the perimenopausal and the ways in which these characters reflect aspects of Jewett’s own authorial liminality.