William Wordsworth and a Vindication Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1363 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

¶ … William Wordsworth and "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" by Mary Wollstonecraft. Specifically, it will compare and contrast the works and discuss how they related to modern culture and society. Wollstonecraft and Wordsworth are both fairly contemporary writers who lived within fifty years of each other and wrote in the Romantic style. While their works seemed topical of the time they were written, it is startling to see how closely they mirror our modern world, especially considering they were written over 200 years ago. This indicates that society and culture will always decry "progress" and change, no matter when or how it occurs.

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According to the text, Mary Wollstonecraft was the product of an abusive home, and her sister married an abusive man, as well. This background surely colored her thinking and her outlook on marriage and men, leading her to write her work, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." She knew first hand that women had few if any rights in pre-Victorian society, and that men subjugated and condescended to them, rather than treating them as equals or giving them any type of respect. She writes, "[T]he civilized women of the present century, with a few exceptions, are only anxious to inspire love, when they ought to cherish a noble ambition, and by their abilities and virtues exact respect" (Wollstonecraft 1459). Wollstonecraft knew that women had few rights or advantages in the 1700s, but she did not only blame this on society, she blamed it on women themselves, who allowed themselves to be subjugated and downtrodden, rather than demanding respect and nurturing their own ambitions. The text's editors note, Wollstonecraft's views were conspicuously radical at a time when women had no political rights" (Greenblatt & Abrams 1457). What is interesting is that Wollstonecraft's words (and ideals) could echo resoundingly in today's society with very little change in meaning or purpose.

Term Paper on William Wordsworth and a Vindication of the Assignment

For example, in today's society, women are valued most highly for their appearance and fashion, rather than their accomplishments or ideals. Think of Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and others, who serve as poor role models because of their negative behaviors, but are popular simply because they are beautiful, they are popular, and they are wealthy enough to flaunt tradition and do exactly as they please. While they may have more opportunities in careers and other aspects of life, they are not that very different from the subjugated women Wollstonecraft is attempting to reach in her essay. In fact, she seems to be writing of these young women when she states, "Weak artificial beings, raised above the common wants and affections of their race, in a premature unnatural manner, undermine the very foundation of virtue" (Wollstonecraft 1460). She berates women for not commanding more respect or ambition. Her comments certainly apply to these young women, and many who emulate them, as they spend their lives worrying about how they look, what they wear, and who they are seen with, rather than dedicating their lives to any important project or cause.

Sadly, it seems that society values women most highly because of their beauty and not because of their brains or ambition, and so little has changed for women, even though great strides have been made in equal rights and empowerment of women. If women choose to be seen as sex objects and empty-headed rich girls who have no serious thoughts or actions, then how far have women actually come in the world, and where will they go in the future? These thoughts are frightening, and would probably distress Wollstonecraft if she discovered that such little progress has actually been made, especially in the very actions of women themselves.

Of course, not all women emulate the "values" of a Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan, and yet, society still keeps women on a level lower than men in many other ways, as well. For example, it is common knowledge there is still a "glass ceiling" when it comes to business and industry in the United States. Most women cannot break through this ceiling to reach upper management or leadership… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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