It is one of several nineteenth-century novels which uncovers the changes in women's work in the new industrial era, as well as the dilemmas, tensions, and the meaning of that work. The story depicts the struggles of a young woman trying to support herself. The main character, Christie Devon, works outside the home in a variety of different jobs, but the end of her story marks "the beginning of a new career as a voice and activist for other working women."
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