Nineteenth Century Literature, Summative, Uncategorized

Summative Entry

The human and artistic concerns of both the Romantic and Victorian Ages are similar to our own concerns; the response to those concerns- given by poets, novelists, dramatists and artists- can help us live fuller, more meaningful and creative lives in our own times.

Human and Artistic concerns of the Romantic and Victorian ages are similar to our own concerns in today’s world. The responses provided by writers, poets, playwrights and artists of the time help us to live fuller and more meaningful lives within our today’s society.

A key concern portrayed through texts of this time was the way in which individuals were presented and the status which they held. Three individuals who portray this idea are Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde.

In Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication to the Rights of Woman”, Wollstonecraft expresses her argument that women should have an equal right to education; a right which would allow them to pass knowledge down to their children and to grow wiser. She states that by not receiving an education, women will “stop the progress of knowledge and virtue”, implying that these are important skills and qualities to hold. While Wollstonecraft argues this, From Wollstonecraft’s ideas, we can see that she strongly believes that women hold an important place in the world. While Wollstonecraft is sharing these opinions, Austen uses marriage as a key theme within her novel in which she too comments on women moving up in society and making a name for themselves. Although Wollstonecraft does this through fighting for education and equal rights, Austen focused on the idea that women should show independence and a desire to move up in the world, but achieve this through marriage and/or wealth rather than education.

This suggestion of Austen’s starts to bring in materiality and focus on one’s possessions and wealth rather than their personal qualities such as knowledge, wisdom and virtue to name a few.

Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest” draws our attention to these materialistic ideas through the use of satire. Within the play, Lady Bracknell portrays an extremely exaggerated interest in these aspects such as one’s wealth and status in order to determine whether or not they measure up to society’s expectations. Ironically, Bracknell states ““We live, I regret to say, in an age of surfaces.” Not only is she commenting on this idea that people are judged by what is seen on the surface (wealth, status, etc.) rather than their true qualities such as character and virtue, she is also criticizing society for this idea without realising that she is portrayed to be the worst part of this society.

Although today’s world still values the ways in which they as individuals are presented, we are still very materialistic in terms of how much we earn, the size of the houses we buy, the types of cars we own, etc. At the same time though, we focus more on an individuals’ qualities and interests, and use our careers and educations to move ourselves up in the world rather than marriage. By writers, poets, playwrights and artists commenting on these concerns, we are able to judge the ridiculousness of the idea of favouring materialistic possessions over built-in human qualities such as love and emotion, and as a result, we are able to try to avoid doing this in order to allow ourselves to focus on qualities such as happiness and creativity instead in order to allow us to live our lives to the fullest.

Nineteenth Century Literature, Peer Reviews

Peer Review 3

Sara,

I really enjoyed reading your blog this week! I love the way you’ve described your suburb in such detail and have also given that additional personal touch through the comparison of your childhood.
The world around us is constantly changing and it’s great to see that regardless of what is happening in the world, you still hold these nostalgic feelings towards your suburb and all that it represents – both past and present.

Nicole

https://saratoma.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/blog-3/comment-page-1/#comment-2

Best Critical, Nineteenth Century Literature

Blog Post 4 Week 6

Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.

Dear Mr Gradgrind,

Are you even aware of your daughter’s feelings? Have you ever stopped to think of what she may think and feel, of why she does not speak up more?

You have blocked off feelings entirely, so much that those around you feel as though they must too. Louisa is a young woman full of emotion, and yet, she cannot open up, she cannot explore and express these feelings when she is around you. How could you treat your daughter in a way that she feels she is unable to be open with you?

And as if this is not enough, you are going to force her into an arranged marriage that she feels as though she cannot be honest about? Does your daughter even want to marry Mr Bounderby? How much does she know and like about him beyond his wealth?

He may be wealthy but have you thought to ask Louisa what qualities she wishes her husband to possess? I know that I personally would not list wealth to be towards the very top of mine. That I would wish to have a say in my marriage, to choose my own husband and be able to express each and every one of my feelings towards the matter openly. If my family arranged my marriage for me I would be furious! And to think you do not even know your daughter’s opinions and feelings towards the matter – or any matter in fact! It’s utterly disgraceful!

Mr Gradgrind, I propose that before you even consider planning your daughter’s future, you should take a step back and assess whether you truly have the right to make these decisions for her. How can one plan another’s future without even truly knowing them?

Thank you,

Nicole

Nineteenth Century Literature

Blog Post 2 Week 4

Both Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen are concerned with the way women lead their lives. Do you think there is any difference between what Austen and Wollstonecraft propose about how women should spend their time?

Both Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen are concerned with the way women lead their lives.

Mary Wollstonecraft believes that women have an equal right to education as men do. In her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary expresses her strong beliefs that women play an important role in the passing down of knowledge from one generation to another, and that through education, not only can this knowledge be passed down, but can also be used in order for women to grow wiser. She states that “if she [women] not be prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue”. Wollstonecraft believed that for children to be taught to understand “the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues can spring, can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind”. This goes to show that if only men have the education, this knowledge cannot also be passed down by women resulting in children only gaining half of the knowledge and perspectives, and therefore, not all women will have the full extent to understand and grow.

While Mary Wollstonecraft believes that women should spend their time gaining an education, Jane Austen’s novel Emma portrays the idea that women should marry while also building upon their own place in society. Jane Austen’s character, Emma, spends her time “match-making” and focusing on her perceived ability to control fate. While it is later proved to Emma that she in fact does not have this ability, marriage is still a major affair in the novel with the women also showing their independence and desire to move up in society and create a name for themselves through marriage and/or wealth.

Jane Austen.jpg
Jane Austen

Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H Abrams. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.

Austen, Jane, and George Justice. Emma. 4th ed., New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 2012,.

Image: https://writersinspire.org/writers/jane-austen

Nineteenth Century Literature, Peer Reviews

Peer Review 1

Beatrice.

I really like how the you thought of the painting in response to the question. It shows a great level of creativity and understanding.

I can relate to you in your experiences of your relationship and where your mood changed. I believe that is really is an amazing thing to be able to “feel joyful, peaceful, safe, secure, lovable and worthy through taking care of ourselves” and to then be able to share this with those around us.

I’m really glad that you were selected to come to Australia in this exchange program. It provides you with the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new and exciting where you can move past these previous negative feelings and emotions. I too am excited for the experiences and life changes a small overseas study tour can bring to me this year.

I found your post emotional, inspiring and encouraging. It reminds me to think of where it is in life that I want to be and to continue to work towards this rather than feeling down when faced with difficulty.

I can’t wait to read more of your posts!
Nicole

https://beatricefait.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/blog-topic-week-4/#comment-7

Nineteenth Century Literature

Blog Post 1 Week 3

From reading the opening pages of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman write what you think is Mary’s most important advice to women of her time.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a British feminist who – at the time – had strongly radical views. During Mary’s time, women did not have political rights, did not have the right to an education, could lose their property to their husband and be unable to take action within the court, and had limited opportunities for vocations outside of the home resulting in majority of women working domestic roles such as servants and nurses.

It is education that Mary Wollstonecraft focusses her main argument around in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In the introductory paragraph, Wollstonecraft states, “if she [women] not be prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue”.  If both women and men are educated, they are able to work together in order to further educate their children. Wollstonecraft argues that “if children are to be educated to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues spring, can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind” and that “the education and situation of woman, at present, shuts her out from such investigations.” If women do not have the knowledge and understanding to pass this information down to her children the children will not receive the entire extent of the knowledge and virtues, whereas, if both women and men have this interest and knowledge, they can work together in order to share this knowledge from different understandings and perspectives.

It is from this that I believe that Mary Wollstonecraft’s best advice to women of her time is to seek out education and understanding and use this knowledge to not only grower wiser, but to also help ensure that this knowledge is passed down to their children and future generations.

Referencing:

Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H Abrams. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.