MLA Platinum Award Press Release

The Murder of Freda Ward: Background information when reading In the Dream House

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In the Dream House

by Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado X
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
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  • Published:
    Nov 2019, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

The Murder of Freda Ward

This article relates to In the Dream House

Portrait of Freda Ward In Carmen Maria Machado's memoir In the Dream House, she writes of her abusive relationship with another woman and the lack of scholarship and cultural representations available on the subject of abuse in queer relationships in general. Having researched the subject exhaustively, she provides snapshots of examples throughout the book, including the 1892 murder of 17-year-old Freda Ward by 19-year-old Alice Mitchell, with whom Freda was romantically involved.

Freda and Alice met at the Higbee School for Girls in Memphis, Tennessee. They grew close, and it was not unusual at the time for girls to hold hands, kiss and otherwise express affection, so their attachment was not regarded with any special notice by most. The Wards moved to Arkansas, and Alice took the separation especially hard. Her sadness was compounded when she learned that Freda was being courted by men. She attempted to overdose on laudanum but survived. Freda's mother eventually came to the conclusion that her ...

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