The ending of Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel Deephaven has long puzzled critics. After enjoying a summer’s respite from the strictures of nineteenth-century womanhood, Kate Lancaster and Helen Denis return to genteel, middle-class life in Boston. For critics who choose to read Kate and Helen’s relationship as lesbian, the return signifies not only the loss of freedom from gender restraints, but also the loss of the girls’ relationship. The return to Boston, whose social scene revolves around the search for suitable husbands, implies a return to the heterosexual sequence of courtship, marriage, and childbirth. For Judith Fetterley (“Reading Deephaven as a Lesbian Text,” 1993) the return constitutes submission to the heterosexual configuration of time as linear and progressive. But if the final chapter implies that the return to Boston is inevitable, it also implies that the girls claim agency in dividing their minds from their bodies. This article comprises two parts: in the first part, I demonstrate how the final chapter dramatizes a mind-body split. In the second part, I use this mind-body split as a framework for discussing how Deephaven theorizes queer ways of thinking about time, offering its heroines the means of transcending the body’s restriction to linear, progressive time.

Cover Page Note

I would like to thank Dr. Dierdre Moloney, director of George Mason's Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, and Dr. J. Samaine Lockwood, my faculty mentor. In addition, I would like to thank Camila Jones and Jenny McKarcher for their patience and enthusiasm in helping me to revise an earlier version of this article for presentation at the CAA conference.