Feminism Enlightenment Sample Paper

In two c?nturi?s wh?r? wom?n hav? v?ry littl? or no rights at all, Mary Wollston?craft app?ar?d as a claiming voic? of f?minism. In th?s? mal?- dominat?d soci?ti?s Wollston?craft ?ducat?d wom?n and tri?d to vindicat? th?ir rights through on? of th? f?w ar?as wh?r? th?y could show th?ir int?llig?nc?: lit?ratur?. Scorn?d in h?r own day and for g?n?rations aft?rward du? to th? ill?gitimacy of h?r daught?r, h?r fr?? lif?styl?, and h?r unorthodox opinions, Vindication of th? Rights of Wom?n (1792) is today a f?minist classic and sh? is honour?d as an ?arly ?nglish f?minist for?moth?r. In Vindication Wollston?craft appli?d th? languag? of th? Fr?nch R?volution to wom?n, scorn?d th? incons?qu?ntial training of wom?n common in h?r tim?, and advocat?d a r?al ?ducation for wom?n, sh? appli?d radical principl?s of lib?rty and ?quality to s?xual politics. (Tomalin, 94)

Mary Wollstonecraft was a radical in the sense that she desired to bridge the gap between mankind’s present circumstances and ultimate perfection. She was truly a child of the French Revolution and saw a new age of reason and benevolence close at hand. Mary undertook the task of helping women to achieve a better life, not only for themselves and for their children, but also for their husbands. Through her many struggles within society, Wollstonecraft would most definitely be regarded as the founder of feminist thinking. Mary Wollstonecraft deserves the title of “enlightened despot” because of her ability to promote women’s rights through the use of her critical understanding of society, and writings which used enlightenment ideas stressing progress, new values of freedom, individual rights and equality. (Wardle, 43) During the 18th century there was little argument for civil and educational rights for women. There was more concern about racial matters than about women status and rights. When Mary Wollstonecraft wrote Vindication of the Right of Woman, she tried to fulfil this lack of civil and educational rights for women; this was a plea to give equality of opportunity to women. The education she promoted was a mixture of information and rational skills. She stressed the importance of educating both sexes together, something that was nearly impossible for that era: “ My observation on national education are obviously hits; but I principally wish to enforce the necessity of educating the sexes together, to perfect both…” (Wollstonecraft 293)

She thought that men and women should be educated to a great degree by the opinions and manners of the society in which they live. Men and women were educated by their mother so the concession made in favour of education was not a privilege afforded to women but a way of control. Education was not intended to prepare women for professional and public life but it was meant to give children a good base for life. This was one of the best arguments to Wollstonecraft for educating women. She looked for educated woman who would not be humble and dependent of their husbands; but friends, better educators, wives, mothers and individuals if they had access to education. She challenged the view that the subjection of women is also the subjection of men, and that the progress of civilization as a whole is deterred when women are deprived of liberty and equality. Mary was very unlike the vast majority of the women of her day, and objected defiantly to their views and their actions. Wollstonecraft said that women-hood has got on radically wrong lines and she had come to set crooked straight. A feminist theory is too often about men, who are stereotyped, categorized, and castigated; at the same time; all women are described as the powerless and virtuous victims in this cruel environment. In other words, the current versions of feminist theory are sexist. (Tomalin, 56)

Mary Wollstonecraft had anticipated all of the modern theories and issues; she understood all the ways that men exclude women and complained bitterly about them. That is to say that Mary Wollstonecraft’s feminist theory was mostly about women, and about how they should be educated to fulfill their aspirations and potentials. To her, there was a context in which the male and female roles are complementary rather than one and the same. Also, she believed that the male-female relationship could be improved upon and that was an important goal. Differently, many people of the 18th century may argue that Mary Wollstonecraft “stepped over the line” by trying to introduce her views and opinions to the world. It was uncommon for women of that time to have a “voice” in which can be heard. Yet, regardless of what the consequences may have been, Wollstonecraft demonstrated her power and her ability to be heard, and better yet to be understood. She recognized the constraints imposed on women in education and occupation. She had a realistic view of marriage and a hatred of tyranny. (Wardle, 71)

Mary believed in the supremacy of reason and the crucial effect of environment. In 1789 the French Revolution began which led to the beginning of a new epoch “in which immemorial misery, injustice, and constrictions were to be eradicated, and in which man had the power to reshape the world.” Wollstonecraft, previously uninterested in politics, became inspired and radicalized by the improvements she now thought were possible for humanity. In 1790 she wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Men an essay expounding the humanitarian ideals brought forth by the French Revolution. This inspired her to apply the rights of man to the woman’s condition and in 1792 published the feminist social study A Vindication of the Right of Woman. This study was the first to make women’s rights into a cause. Her demand for “JUSTICE for one-half of the human race” was too revolutionary but she did find a following among radicals and educated women and succeeded in beginning the trend toward regarding women as an important social force. Wollstonecraft was also more then a women’s rights advocate, as she argued throughout her life for the rights of all people whom she felt had been assigned their roles in life according to false distinctions of class, age and gender. Mary argued that man cannot adequately represent woman and that his attempts to recreate woman as obedient and servile have resulted only in the creation of a society narrow in perspective and severely out of balance. Although her unlimited efforts to equalize the people of her time, again it could be argued that her method of expression was unacceptable. Her “inexcusable” ways to educate others about her principles caused much uproar within the male dominated society. Her opinion lead to many disagreements within society, therefore questioning the effectiveness of her methods. (Woolf, 113)

Wollstonecraft is highly regarded as the leader of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain and is best known as the woman who answered Rousseau with her philosophical treatise entitled: ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.’ Rousseau, as a philosopher, addresses the genesis of social roles and inequality as being inherently connected to the love of well being. Women, being the weaker of the two sexes, both physically and politically, are relegated to secondary status because of the male’s love of well being rather than an inherent condition of subjectivity. Mary Wollstonecraft argued that “to obtain social equality society must rid itself of the monarchy as well as the church and military hierarchies.” Her views even shocked fellow radicals. Whereas advocates of parliamentary reform such as Jeremy Bentham and John Cartwright had rejected the idea of female suffrage, Wollstonecraft argued that the rights of man and the rights of women were one and the same things. (Godwin, 88)

Mary Wollstonecraft was a supporter of educational equality and an advocate of women’s rights. She stated that women did not cultivate much of their intellectual potential because of prevailing social attitudes, equality in education was a major part of Wollstonecraft’s reform program, as she fought for a “revolution” in the social system towards both sexes. Her writings are regarded as crucial early documents in the history of feminism that realistically depict formal degradation and offer a graphic picture of the things done to women. She renounced writers such as Rousseau who have degraded women. Wollstonecraft’s lasting place in the history of philosophy rests upon A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, she appealed to unrestricted social philosophy as the basis for the creation and preservation of equal rights and opportunities for women. Through her countless struggles to establish her point of view of society and the inequality within it, Wollstonecraft successfully identified and removed several aspects of women’s subordination. Her work remains as a foundation in women’s rights and laid the foundation for modern feminism. Although Wollstonecraft did not live to see her ideals in women’s rights come to fulfillment, we are still left with her vision when she states “ I have thrown down the gauntlet, it is time to restore women to their lost dignity and to make them a part of the human species.” This in itself proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Mary Wollstonecraft should most definitely be classified as an “Enlightened Despot”.


Mary Woolstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. London, J. Johnson, and Boston, Thomas & Andrews, 1792; second edition, London, J. Johnson, 1792.

Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women by William Godwin, J. Johnson, 1788, New York, Garland, 1974

A Study of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Woman by Emma Rauschenbusch Clough, London and New York, Longmans Green, 1898

Mary Wollstonecraft by Madeline Linford, Boston, Small Maynard, 1924

Mary Wollstonecraft: A Sketch by Henry R. James, London, Oxford University Press, 1932

“Mary Wollstonecraft” by Virginia Woolf, in her The Second Common Reader, New York, Harcourt, 1932

Wollstonecraft: A Critical Biography by Ralph Wardle, Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1951

One Woman’s Situation: A Study of Mary Wollstonecraft by Margaret George, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1970

Wollstonecraft: Her Life and Times by Edna Nixon, London, Dent, 1971

Mary Wollstonecraft: A Biography by Eleanor Flexner, New York, Coward McCann, 1972

The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft by Clair Tomalin, London, Weidenfeld ;amp Nicholson, and New York, Harcourt Brace, 1974, revised, London, Penguin, 1992

Feminist Lyrics And Superchic(k)’s “One Girl Revolution

            One Girl Revolution by Superchic(k)

I wear a disguise

I’m just your average Jane

The super doesn’t stand for model

But that doesn’t mean I’m plain

If all you see is how I look

You miss the superchick within

And I christen you Titanic

Underestimate and swim

I’ve got the rifle

Gonna be myself

I’ll be everything that I want to be

I am confidence in insecurity

I am a voice yet waiting to be heard

I’ll shoot the shot, bang

That you hear ’round the world

I’m a one girl revolution

Some people see the revolution

But most only see the girl

I can loose my hard earned freedom

If my fear defines my world

I declare my independence from the critics and their stones

I can find my revolution

I can learn to stand alone

I’ll be everything that I want to be

I am confidence in insecurity

I am a voice yet waiting to be heard

I’ll shoot the shot, bang

That you hear ’round the world

I’m a one girl revolution

Feminism is often defined as the belief in equality of the sexes, and advocates equal rights for women.  Feminist lyrics refers to any music which suggests, encourages, and inspires women to take an active, aggressive role in defining who they are and how society sees them.  Superchic(k)’s “One Girl Revolution is a great example of feminist lyrics.  In the first verse, it states “If all you see is how I look /You miss the superchick within.”  The lyrics remind us that women are more then just how they look, and if they aren’t, they should be.  The girl in the song goes on say “I’ll be everything that I want to be /I am confidence in insecurity” pressing the issue that women can succeed even if they aren’t perfect and fearless.  The lyrics go on to say “I declare my independence from the critics and their stones /I can find my revolution / I can learn to stand alone.”  The girl in the song sings about her confidence not just in succeeding in the world but being able to stand alone, and be her own person.

            I feel that the lyrics in this song were written to speak directly to the women listening to it.  It describes a single girl’s philosophy of life, and details how she too will overcome being “just a girl” in a male centered world.  She will not be overlooked, or underestimated.  And while she may not be famous now, she is preparing herself to do great things and make a difference in the world.  In the final verse, she promises “I am a voice yet waiting to be heard / I’ll shoot the shot, bang /That you hear ’round the world / I’m a one girl revolution.”  This song has strong statements and a upbeat beautifully fun tone, that it encourages women to take and even steal an equal place in today’s world, and reminds us that woman can be super heroes too.

Works Cited

Superchic(k).  “One Girl Revolution.”  Inpop Records, 2003.

Fern Hill – Dylan Thomas Communication Analysis

Fern Hill – Dylan Thomas


Look up euphony in several literary dictionaries and create your own definition for the term. Identify at least three passages in `Fern Hill` that you consider euphonious. Write several sentences about each, explaining how the poet achieved this effect.

Euphony is the use of soft constants in several words that when placed together or are said together produce a pleasing or musical sound.  There are several incidents of euphony in Dylan Thomas’ “Fern Hill”.  In Line 15, “And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman”, euphony is created by the alliteration of a the “g” sound followed by alliteration of the “h”.  Both are soft consonants that add to the flow and rhythmic tone of the line.  In line 19 – 21, “All the sun  long it was running, it was lovely, the hay / Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air / And playing, lovely and watery”, euphony is created in a different way from above.

Dylan uses words which end in soft sounds which give the lines a pleasant tone – running, lovely, hay, chimneys, playing, lovely, and watery.  All these words end “y” or “g” making the passage easy to say.  Additionally, Dylan specifically uses end letters which physically produce a smile when said.  In lines 37 – 39,  “In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs / Before the children green and golden / Follow him out of grace” euphony is established by both alliteration and soft end word consonants.  The repetition of “green and golden” throughout the poem creates a sense of unity and flow to the verse.  The alliteration of “t” and “g” create comfortable sounds to hear and say.  The “g” sound used as an end letter in the words “turning”, “morning”, “songs” creates a soft point of emphasis which works well with the rhythm of the poem.

1. Do you think that Dylan Thomas` purpose in writing this poem was celebratory or cautionary? Based on your response, how would you express either its celebratory or cautionary view of time? To what extent do the poet`s ideas fit in with your own experience and observations? (P. 497)

“Fern Hill” is poem in which Dylan Thomas is celebrating life.  This is a poem is about being “young and easy”.  Dylan uses simple descriptions and childish language to create a sense of youth and freedom.  For most of the poem the narrator is a child, and there are no adult overtones of cynicism.  The poem centers on Thomas’ idyllic memories of his childhood spent on a farm.  He fills the poem with childhood endeavors and fantasies like when he “rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away.”  The youthful feel of the poem is further supported by the free flowing wild verse that is not restrained by a traditional meter and rhyme scheme.  Thomas also repeats the word “green and golden” both descriptive words associated with new life and new beginnings.  In “Fern Hill” the optimism of youth obvious through sight and sound.  Thomas does a good job of recreating the feelings and experiences associated with childhood in which the real world ceases to exist and “time [has] let me play and be golden.”

Thomas is quite clear in expressing that while time can not be saved it can be well used. Time must be cherished and enjoyed.  A child never considers time and therefore makes the best use of that time.  Thomas does not represent time as a cruel character but as gracious and patient host.  Time allows people to “hail and climb”, and “play and be”.  It is time the guides an individual through life into death.  Time “would take you [me]” by the “shadow of your [me] hand” into “the moon.”  It is time that holds an individual “green and dying.”  It is clear the Thomas’ intention was not for time to be represented as a  vicious accomplice to death but as a protector and guide that allows the celebration of life and  the easement of individuals into death.

I believe that Thomas’ ideas of time fit well into my own experiences with life.  Until I read this poem I never consider that time was what kept me from death.  In my mind time and death went hand and hand.  They were partners.  The more I read “Fern Hill” I began to realize that time is my partner and together we ward off death until absolutely necessary.  Even as people die they are not alone.  Time is there to comfort them, to offer them memories of the past, and hope for the future for their love ones.

How would you describe the predominant tone in the first stanza of `Fern Hill` ? Contrast this with the tone of the last three lines of the poem. Go though the poem stanza by stanza, identifying words and images that foreshadow the emotional closure which Thomas voices at the end. Do you think the poet has managed to successfully integrate the innocent joy of the child with the mature resignation of the adult, without invalidating either one? Explain. (P. 497)

The general tone and mood of the stanza one is one of freedom and optimism.  There is a wild nature to Thomas’ verse which is similar to a young child recounting fabulous tales of danger and adventure of his summer vacation.  The child was “prince of apple towns”, things were “young and easy” and the time, rivers, the grass, and night let the child do whatever his heart desired.  This tone is strikingly different than the tone found in the last three lines of the poem.  Narrator describes while time in childhood has let him play, time now “held him [me] green and dying.”  The tone of the last three lines is full of resignation and nostalgia.  It is the first and only time that the narrator speaks about the inevitable passage of time.  It is in the last stanzas where Thomas’ common themes of religion, mortality, and time are once again present.

In stanza one there is no foreshadowing, like the beginning of childhood, there is no inclination or hint that life will be any different then freedom experienced in the moment.  In stanza two, “in the sun that is young once only,” is foreshadowing.  The narrator is letting the reader know that youth is not renewable and that we should grasp it and hold it close because childhood is fleeting.  In line 14, “Golden in the mercy of his means,” narrator explains that childhood dwindles slowly away simply by being a child and gaining new experiences.  In stanza three, line 17, “and the sabbath rang slowly” which the first eerily dark image in the poem.  This line has duplicity of meaning.  Literally it means that Sunday, the day of rest, come slowly at the end of the week.  It further refers to the sabbath as the end of life, meeting with god.  Death is a progressive disease and slowly seeks up on a person.

In stanza four, “Flying with the ricks, and the horses / Flashing into the dark,” the words “flying” and “flashing” show a sense of urgency and fleetingness.  This parallels the theme of the poem which is celebrate and enjoy every moment of life because death does eventually come.  In stanza five, “Out of the whinnying green stable,” the color green in “Fern Hill” is a representation of childhood.  Moving out of that “green stable” foreshadows the loss of innocence and the eventually loss of life.  In the last stanza, time has come to claim it’s victim and death is upon the narrator.  He writes “Follow him out of grace, oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means” and “time held me green and dying.”  He has left childhood into adulthood and then left adulthood for death.

Thomas in “Fern Hill” does a complete and excellent job of incorporating joy of childhood with mature resignation. The poem parallels what really does happen in life.   Most of a person’s life is spent living, and enjoying all the experiences and adventure.  It is only at the end of our lives do we even begin to consider death and dying.  The four stanza flesh out what it means to be a child, to have imagination to be free to experience youthful paradise.  He allots just the right amount of time to resignation of reflection and death.  Thomas is enable to keep joyful childhood from effecting maturity by completely separating the two.  Death is never a component in the poem until the final stanza therefore the two never get a chance to invalidate each other.


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