257 Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

Katherine Whitcomb

No part of the story so far stands out to me more than when Unca’s sister, Alluca, makes her move on Winka. There’s no denying the strength of the female characters in The Female American, with Unca Eliza surviving on a desolate island on her own and all. That being said, what the heck is with Alluca? She’s the literal queen of a tribe, yet can’t get over that fact that she isn’t loved by her younger sister’s boyfriend. You’d think she could have more on her mind than finding some white boy to marry her who would rather convert her to Christianity than watch her run a society.

Alluca’s strength is in her cultural role, which is probably why Winka didn’t want to be with her. Marrying Alluca would mean that he would have to give her power because they would’ve stayed with the tribe, and women were respected more than they were in European culture. I’m looking at you, salty sea captain who dumps Unca Eliza on an island. Being with Unca allowed him to move back to his plantation and keep the power that his culture gives him, rather than embracing his wife’s cultural lifestyle.

Something that confounds me even more is when Alluca makes a death threat to Winka and he just brushes her off, “. . .in a rage not to be described, she cried, ‘If you will not love me, you shall die; my sister shall never enjoy an happiness that I aspire to; nor shall my vengeance be long delayed; this instant shall put a period to your life.’ However menacing these words were, my father was not greatly alarmed, as they were uttered by an unarmed woman” (52). I wanted to scream at him, “dude, she means business don’t smirk,” but he wouldn’t listen me anyway. After she poisons him he seems to sorta get the idea that she was a force to be wrecked with, especially a few years later when she gets her revenge by killing her sister/his wife.

What I’m trying to get at is that Alluca is an amazing female figure, but she’s diluted to the image of a love-crazed girl. It makes her motivations seem simple and one dimensional– like her love for a man was her only driving force for the rest of her life. However that can’t be the only truth. On some level it could be in terms of this book being a love story, but it’s not. So we have to look past that and see that it’s about survival of the fittest (so far), and the only other strong native woman we see is murderous to her own family and dies in that light. We’re meant to see the difference between the sisters Unca and Alluca. Unca is peaceful because of her smooth transition into European culture with her husband. Alluca is murderous and evil because she never converted to Christianity or life on a plantation. She is wild and unkempt; she will lash out on those who find “peace”, and for that she is dangerous.


Winkfield, Unca E, Michelle Burnham, and James Freitas. The Female American; or, The Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield. 2014. Print


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The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature: A PSU-Based Project Copyright © 2016 by Katherine Whitcomb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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