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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Working Girls in the West

Representations of Wage-Earning Women

As the twentieth century got under way in Canada, young wage-earning women – “working girls” – embodied all that was unnerving and unnatural about modern times: the disintegration of the family, the independence of women, and the unwholesomeness of city life. Long after eastern Canada was considered settled and urbanized, the West continued to be represented as a frontier where the idea of the region as a society in the making added resonance to the idea of the working girl as social pioneer. Using an innovative interpretive approach that centres on literary representation, Lindsey McMaster heightens our understanding of a figure that fired the imagination of writers and observers.

224 pages

Table of Contents



1 Working Women in the West at the Turn of the Century

2 The Urban Working Girl in Turn-of-the-Century Canadian Literature

3 White Slaves, Prostitutes, and Delinquents

4 Girls on Strike

5 White Working Girls and the Mixed-Race Workplace

Conclusion: Just Girls




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