Book of Margery Kempe Is About Late Term Paper

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Book of Margery Kempe is about late medieval English life. The central theme is not about simply a woman, but a woman thoroughly rooted in the world. She portrays the manners and the tastes neither of the court nor of the nunnery, but the piety, the culture, the profit-oriented values, and the status-consciousness of the late medieval town.

Margery's disengagement from conventional female roles and duties and consequently her daring rejection of the values of her fellow townspersons s a response to her growing commitment to her spiritual vocation. Her attempt to gain personal, financial, and spiritual autonomy is a tale of radical reversal that touches us on many different levels. Margery does what very few are able finally to do, and the fact that she does so as a woman enhances the force of her story.

Her story begins conventionally enough. She is married, soon thereafter conceives her first child, goes on to bear fourteen children and presumably to assume the responsibilities of a wife and mother whose position in late medieval society is assured by the longstanding reputation of her father, John Burnham, and the lesser but nonetheless worthy repute of her husband, JohnKempe. However, that conventional story is fissured early in Margery's life by a personal vision of Jesus that comes to her shortly after the birth of her first child. The Book records not the anxious efforts to secure worldly goods that we can find in the letters of the Pastons, but Margery's efforts to dissociate herself from the acquisitive and restrictive values of what we now recognize as middle class life.

The Book tells a tale of conflict between Margery and key figures of the late medieval world who were invested with spiritual and secular authority -- priests, bishops, and mayors -- as well as with her husband and her fellow townspersons. Her personal relationship with Jesus leads her to espouse a radical social gospel that threatens the very basis for town life, for Kempe intimates that an orientation towards profit, an investment in qualities like stability and hierarchical ordering, and an urge toward conformist codes of dress and behavior underlie the medieval conception of community

As "modern" as such an account of the life of Margery Kempe sounds, Kempe grounds her work in the conventions of medieval female sacred biography. Throughout the annals of sanctity, holy men and women were presented as breaking with or as challenging the institutions of family and society. The issue of sexuality was a particularly important one for female saints, for by their wishes to lead celibate lives, women signified their espousal of a new and less socially defined existence. Unbound by the physical and patriarchal strictures of marriage, they could cultivate a spiritual relationship…

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1) The book of Margery Kempe

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