The Company She Keeps

The Model Child; the Model Woman

Joan fishingWhen Joan is used as a model for children,thoseJoan on Horseback, with a banner traits adults find attractive in children - obedience, courtesy, industry, concern for others - are usually emphasized. Émile Hinzelin's Jeanne d'Arc; Pèlerinage au Pays de la Bonne Lorraine (at left) depicts Joan in a series of laudable rural, girlish activities: laundry, cooking, spinning, praying, herding cows. In this heavily illustrated book there are only three pictures illustrating events after she left the security of her family home. Sweetser, in Ten Girls From History (below), spends more time on Joan's military exploits, but only after assuring the reader that she was a well-brought up child with a "habit of obedience." The photographic postcard below showing a young girl dressed up in armor is a surprising departure from the ordinary .

child dressed as Joan

title page, La Jeune Fille et Jeanne d'ArcBooks for an older audience tend to promote qualities which title page, Aux Amies de Jeanne d'Arcaddress the concerns of adolescent girls - and of their parents. Attachment to one's family comes to be a more important theme, probably in response to the natural inclination of teenagers to begin finding their own way. Other major themes for the maturing readers are friends outside the family, and a much greater emphasis on active religious devotion. Jeglot, in La Jeune Fille et Jeanne d'Arc, praises enthusiasm, hard work, usefulness, piety and - of course - virginity. Artaud, who deeply desired Joan's canonization, emphasized the religious aspect of her mission in Aux Amies de Jeanne d'Arc. Several series of postcards printed at the beginning of the 20th century like those below show Joan as the perfect teenager - neatly and modestly dressed, hard at work for her family's benefit, and raptly attentive to spiritual guidance. Even here though, the difficulty of using Joan as a model for girls begins to be felt - she can only answer God's command by abandoning her role as a dutiful daughter.

Joan spinning     Joan praying     Joan leaving her father

title page of speech - Jehanne d'Arc et la mission de la femme francaiseJoan is frequently used as a model for women - often by men. In a speech delivered at Notre-Dame on the occasion of the beatification, De Gibergues lauded the values which Joan symbolized for him - and decried the numerous threats against them: atheism, rationalism, materialism, sensualism, and modernism. He criticizedhis female audience as capricious, vain and useless, but encouraged them to submit themselves as Joan did to God's will. Such sacrifice was to be rewarded on Judgment Day, but more immediately, it would enable France to rise up to expel its enemies and embrace its true king, Jesus Christ.

portrait from Memoirs of Joan D'ArcAlthough Joan has long been a potent figure for France, other nations have adopted her as a more general symbol - of courage, patriotism, female valor, and religious inspiration. Grave's Memoirs of Joan D'Arc was actually published with the aim of strengthening the resolve of English women who might lose their husbands or sons in the war against Napoleon. The preface reads, in part:

"England… asks not the death of her daughters, yet to her belongs no inconsiderable share of their hearts and lives. If a woman be incapable of personal sacrifice, how she bear to offer up lives far dearer than her own?"

The Company She Keeps
The Model Child, The Model Woman
Contemporary Accounts Biographies      On the Stage Selling It The Company She Keeps The Call to Arms Joan in Politics St. Joan


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