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Literature / Her Father's Daughter

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Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter.


Tropes included:

  • Changeling Fantasy: Linda knows her father is her father, but she seriously doubts that her sister is her sister. When she turns eighteen, she learns that her mother's Death by Childbirth, and when her father remarried, he and his new wife had agreed to raise their children like actual sisters. (But it couldn't be hidden because it was In the Blood.)
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  • Delinquent Hair: Hair dye is a mark against Eileen's honesty:
    I never knew Eileen to be honest about anything in all her life unless the truth served her better than an evasion. Her hair was not honest color and it was not honest curl.
  • In the Blood: On her 18th birthday, Linda receives a letter from her deceased father. Before she opens it, she tells the man with her that she is quite certain that it tells her that Eileen is not really her father's daughter and not really her sister.
    Before I open this envelope I am going to tell you what I believe it contains. I have not the slightest evidence except personal conviction, but I believe that the paper inside this envelope is written by my father's hand and I believe it tells me that he was not Eileen's father and that I am not her sister. If it does not say this, then there is nothing in race and blood and inherited tendencies."
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  • I Will Wait for You: Donald's mother bluntly informs him not to ask Linda to marry him because he would require this trope, which isn't fair.
    That is the reason I am suggesting that you think about these things seriously and question yourself as to whether you would be doing the fair thing by Linda if you tried to tie her up in an arrangement that would ask her to wait six or eight years yet before you would be ready.
  • May–December Romance: Inverted. Donald's mother informs him that there is no chance that he can marry Linda because he's only a year her elder, and he's going to college.
    By the time you are ready to marry and settle down in life, Linda in all probability will be married and be the mother of two or three babies.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Donald's mother urges him not to ask Linda to marry him for this reason.
    "Oh good Lord," cried Donald, "'marry!' How could I marry anyone when I haven't even graduated from high school and with college and all that to come?"
    "That is what I have been trying to tell you," said his mother evenly. "I don't believe you have been thinking about marriage and I am absolutely certain that Linda has not, but she is going to be made to think about it long before you will be in such financial position that you dare.
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  • Yellow Peril: Despite its nature-loving themes and its romances, it's centrally a heavy-headed warning against it:
    People have talked about the 'yellow peril' till it's got to be a meaningless phrase. Somebody must wake up to the realization that it's the deadliest peril that ever has menaced white civilization. Why shouldn't you have your hand in such wonderful work?"
    "Linda," said the boy breathlessly, "do you realize that you have been saying 'we'? Can you help me? Will you help me?"
    "No," said Linda, "I didn't realize that I had said 'we.' I didn't mean two people, just you and me. I meant all the white boys and girls of the high school and the city and the state and the whole world. If we are going to combat the 'yellow peril' we must combine against it. We have got to curb our appetites and train our brains and enlarge our hearts till we are something bigger and finer and numerically greater than this yellow peril. We can't take it and pick it up and push it into the sea. We are not Germans and we are not Turks. I never wanted anything in all this world worse than I want to see you graduate ahead of Oka Sayye. And then I want to see the white boys and girls of Canada and of England and of Norway and Sweden and Australia, and of the whole world doing exactly what I am recommending that you do in your class and what I am doing personally in my own. I have had Japs in my classes ever since I have been in school, but Father always told me to study them, to play the game fairly, but to BEAT them in some way, in some fair way, to beat them at the game they are undertaking."

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