The Diary of a Nobody

April Smyth
Mind Map by April Smyth, updated more than 1 year ago
April Smyth
Created by April Smyth about 5 years ago


Mindmap of A. James Hammerton's Pooterism or Partnership? Marriage and Masculine Identity in the Lower Middle Class, 1870-1920

Resource summary

The Diary of a Nobody
1 Portrayal of suburban life and values
1.1 Marriage
1.1.1 lower middle class husband's eager commitment to domesticity and marital harmony tensions in the Pooter marriage emblematic of wider insecurities
1.1.2 matrimonial agency scandals marrying above themselves
1.1.3 "overnight transition on Lupin's wedding day from raffish cad to genteel and deferential suburban husband"
1.1.4 falling standards
1.1.5 "Is Marriage a Failure?" Debate in 1888
1.1.6 domestic issues attracted lower middle class
1.1.7 sexual antagonism Crosland
1.1.8 companionate marriage a matter of public performance in the ubran landscape located firmly in the urban private sphere sharing mutual anxieties linked with men's weakness and self doubt
1.2 lower-middle class
1.2.1 instabilities of lower-middle class private life
1.2.2 still awaits its gender historians
1.2.3 profiles varied dramatically between socially heterogenous inner regions like Hackney and more genteel outer suburbs
1.2.4 most of the early work on the lower middle class focused on the public world
1.2.5 imitating the upper-middle class
1.2.6 "butt of scorn and criticism from both the agents and advocates of modernity"
1.2.7 cult of respectability
1.2.8 snobbery, conformity, narrowness deeper national malaise
1.2.9 trying to exclude themselves from working class parental dignity family pride obsession with contamination by the "commonness" of the lowest classes mark of parent's flexibility if they allowed their children to associate with families of lower classes status conscious at odds with heavy-handed satirical images
1.2.10 struggling to attain a realistic level of decency
1.3 "sharp analysis of social insecurity"
1.4 Family Relations
1.4.1 focus on men's presence in the home men's close relationship to domesticity weakness in lower middle-class never criticised in working class equated with effeminacy
1.4.2 falling birth rate decline in family size in white collar families from last quarter of the 19th century lower middle class among those with the lowest family size by 1911 growing culture of abstinence silence in autobiographies about this restricting births in the interests of family economy and wife's health male sexual disfunction
1.4.3 turning to birth control or late marriage instead of social reform
1.4.4 men look to male companionship at work
1.4.5 women working
1.4.6 domestic partnership didn't always mean domestic harmony compromise required fraught negotiations desperate to collaborate on spacing
1.4.7 rarely unmitigated matriarchal rule satirical exaggerations
1.4.8 tension-ridden togetherness isolating intimacy
1.4.9 lifelong sentimental attachment to parents or resentment and rebellion
1.5 Religion
1.5.1 scrutiny of social values
1.5.2 degraded to a series of social functions
1.5.3 church characterised the family dynamics
1.6 attack on suburbia, attack on lower middle class men and women
1.7 1905 book The Suburbans
1.7.1 attacks suburban clerks suburban vulgarity decline in English civilization mediorcre consumer goods degraded architecture declining artistic culture falling standards of marriage
1.7.2 blaming women for suburban men's weakness
1.8 representing suburbanism as the root cause of degeneration of English national character and manly citizenship
2 HUmour
2.1 mocking mixed with sympathy
2.2 laughing at Pooter
2.2.1 desperate to be thought of as a "somebody"
2.3 diary as form of satire
2.3.1 satirising the Victorian "very important' diary
2.4 satirising Victorian trends
2.4.1 cycling sentimental image of Victorian family
2.4.2 spiritualism
2.4.3 the aesthetic movement
2.4.4 the class system
2.5 "The cruel banter hints as the penchant of the middle class for putting pretentious Pooters in their place."
3 Charles Pooter
3.1 transparent claim to genility, independence and mastery
3.2 struggling suburban bank clerk
3.3 metaphor for lower-middle-class pretension, weakness and diminished masculinity
3.4 false authority
3.4.1 private "I am the master of this house." never challenged
3.4.2 public
3.5 Pooterism
3.5.1 "the dependent weakness and inflated social pretension of white-collar workers" constructed in the workplace expressed at home
3.5.2 1880s problems of the railway suburb rise of large corporation instability of white collar employment shift to mass retailing changing leisure environments
3.5.3 evolultion of lower-middle class caricature
3.5.4 focused on married men relies on their supposed behaviour in the home
3.5.5 staid/sexually emasculated
3.5.6 not new
3.5.7 shift in satire away from earlier model of conugal lower middle class masculinity
3.5.8 attempt to mark out an autonomous lower middle-class identity nervous resentment of class mockery
3.6 heterosexual conformity
3.7 embodied contradictions at the heart of private sphere's relationship to modernity
3.8 devoted husband
3.8.1 enthusiastically domesticated
3.9 "enthusiastic but bungling attempts as Mr Fixit"
3.9.1 bath and red paint incident
4 Form
4.1 Diary
4.1.1 satire Barry Pain's The Eliza Books Pooterlike pomposity and unworldliness extreme caricatures of masculine weakness
4.1.2 domestic life
4.1.3 men's autobiographical representations autobiography reveals satire as exagerrated or simplified
5 Gender Identity
5.1 Dina Copelman
5.1.1 "brought a long overdue gender perspective to lower middle class identity, especially that of single women"
5.2 Male
5.2.1 domestically centered masculine identity domestic sphere was constructed as an important site of identity formation for men potential conflict gender inversion figure of the feminized masculinity compromised masculinity attack on suburbia anxieties about national decline move away from imperial masculinity associations of white collar men with the enthusiasms of imperialism youth commitment to domesticity mocked yet became the more universal model for 20th century family life
5.2.2 male weakness control of women in the suburban home in the workplace in the household replicated in the bedroom highlighted by lack of independence and authority
5.2.3 "black coated" husbands "bow, bow, ye lower middle-classes" feminization of the male white-collar worker
5.2.4 young bachelor clerk
5.2.5 alternative male role flamboyant American businessman, Hardfur Huttle socially and sexually disruptive white collar youth
5.2.6 unmarried youth regarded as brawling, drunkenness, sexual experiment and misogyny Lupin rebellious shocks his father with disorderly social life overnight transition on his wedding day in stark contrast with Pooter dangerous
5.2.7 early Victorian portrayal of the married feckless petit bourgeois merchant Douglas Jerrold's 'Mrs Caudle's Curtain Lectures' celebrated men's deft resistance to their wives nagging appeals to material ostentation and domestic duty in favour of a homosocial world of drinking and masonic companionship
5.2.8 men of limited means, limited vision, and limited faith
5.2.9 wide variety of lower middle class men are not represented in satire
5.3 Female
5.3.1 work clerical work being defined in liberating ways for lower middle class woman employed and educated
5.3.2 blamed for suburban men's weakness women's pretensions enslaved their husbands gender revolution control of the domestic sphere inverting natural gender hierarchy
5.3.3 female domestic rule
5.3.4 "vices" uncontrollable consumerism rise of the department store female activity urban woman's site of pleasure alarming propensity to practice birth control leaving sexually emasculate hubsand "out of the picture: Rita Felski "the feminization of modernity is ... largely synonymous with its demonization
5.4 "unnatural and catastrophic inversion of gender order"
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