When Patty Went to College

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When Patty Went to College
Author Jean Webster
Country United States
Language English
Publisher The Century Co.
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
OCLC 2185725

When Patty Went to College is Jean Webster's first novel, published in 1903. It is a humorous look at life in an all-girls college at the turn of the 20th century. Patty Wyatt, the protagonist of this story is a bright, fun loving, imperturbable girl who does not like to conform. The book describes her many escapades on campus during her senior year at college. Patty enjoys life on campus and uses her energies in playing pranks and for the entertainment of herself and her friends. An intelligent girl, she uses creative methods to study only as much as she feels necessary. Patty is, however, a believer in causes and a champion of the weak. She goes out of her way to help a homesick freshman Olivia Copeland who believes she will be sent home when she fails three subjects in the examination.

The end of the book sees Patty reflecting on what her life after college might be like. She plays hooky from chapel and meets a bishop. In a chat with the bishop, Patty realizes that being irresponsible and evasive at a young age could adversely affect her character as an adult and decides to try to be a more responsible person.

This is Jean Webster’s earliest published work, and not as popular as her better-known novels Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and Dear Enemy (1915). Webster later wrote Just Patty (1911), which describes Patty’s school days, and predates this story by around 5 years.

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