In Anzia Yezierska’s 1923 novel Salome of the Tenements, Russian Jewish immigrant Sonya Vrunsky marries the upper-class American man of her dreams only to discover that she cannot fit into his sterile world of money and manners. “I could never choke myself into the form of your society friends,” she declares. “No more can I make myself over on another person’s pattern. I’m different. I got to be what’s inside of me” (Yezierska [1995], Univ. of Illinois Press, 131). The question of making oneself over “on another person’s pattern” stands at the center of both Tova Cooper’s The Autobiography of Citizenship: Assimilation and Resistance in U.S. Education and Lauren S. Cardon’s Fashion and Fiction: Self-Transformation in Twentieth-Century American Literature. Both Cooper and Cardon examine pressures on individuals in the early decades of the twentieth century to fashion themselves along dominant...

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