Women Struggles in EL the Rights of Essay

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Women struggles in EL

The rights of women in society have always been a topic shrouded in a great deal of discussion. In many ways women are still struggling for equality within society and will likely continue to struggle for some years to come. The purpose of this discussion is to focus on how this theme of women's rights has informed English Literature and the manner in which it has been expressed including those thing that have changed and those things that have remained constant. More specifically the research will focus on women's rights in English literature from the Romantic Age until the 21st century.

The Romantic Age

In the real of English literature the Romantic age (1789-1830) was an extremely important time because it marked a new birth in the type literature that was written and the manner in which readers were exposed to the literature. As it pertains to women's rights tis era was vitally important because it marks a time when women writers began to take the forefront and tell their own stories and discuss the inequalities that exists between men and women at the time. One of the most profound lessons in women's right came n 1792 with Mary Wollstonecraft's, A Vindication of the Rights of Women. In the novel she explains her desire for women in society. She asserts

"I have a profound conviction that women are rendered weak and wretched, especially by a false system of education, gathered from books written by men who have been more anxious to make of women alluring mistresses than rational wives. The DIVINE RIGHT of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is to be hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger. Men, in their youth, are prepared for professions, but women can only look to marriage to sharpen their faculties. Yet, novels, music, poetry and gallantry all
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tend to make women creatures of sensation. "Educate women like men," says Rousseau, "and the less power will they have over us." This is my point. I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves (Wollstonecraft)."

In this passage Wollstonecraft presents her displeasure with the manner in which women are treated in the areas of education and within the context of marriage. She mentions the divine right that husbands had at this time. The divine right refers to th husbands ability to have complete control or sovereignty over the wife. The wife was thought to be the possession of her husband.

Although a great deal of the issues faced by women during the time period that the aforementioned book was written are no longer as pervasive or relevant in our society, some issues still linger. Amongst them is how best to educate girls. To this end a host of all girls schools at all levels of education were created during the 20th century. Educators believed that this type of environment was necessary to ensure that girls received the proper education.

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is an example of the desire that many women had to work outside he home. Jane is able to receive an education and works as a tacher. Even though her life is not idyllic and she faces many challenges, she did have some independence because she had an education. A the end of the novel Bronte declares that Jane has been married for ten years and she and her husband were equals. Although this book still has women serving in gender specific roles (i.e. teachers, maids), the very idea of husbands and wives being equal was revolutionary at the time that this book was written.

Another literary work that serves as a monument to women's rights is by Virginia Woolf an it is entitled "A Room of One's Own." This particular work discusses the differences between what women are allowed to…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Bronte, Charlotte. (1847) Jane Eyre. London, England: Smith, Elder & Co

Rich, A. (1995) Of Woman Born - Motherhood As Experience And Institution

Showalter, E. (1982). A literature of their own. Princeton University Press

Woolf. V. (1989) A Room of Ones Own.

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