March 1, 2012 – Wollstonecraft

I thought Sam had an excellent presentation on Mary Wollstonecraft. I found it very informative and found it cleared up a lot of my own misconceptions about Wollstonecraft, like the Frankenstein point.

I thought she was a very strong and influentual writer. I did not get a chance to read much of her works but I have read her “A vindication of The rights of Man (1790) and “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” before in other English classes. With the assigment being due I did not really have time to read.

The Rover – February 23

After reading the play, I have been given the sense that, in comparison to the other plays, marriage is seen as something important and celebrated. Throughout the entire play, Don Pedro tries to defend the honor of his sisters, by marrying them off to suitable “suitors”. Out of all the men in the play, there seems to be only one that is concerned with finding many women and whoring about seems to be Willmore. His friends though keep reminding him of his “Gypsy” woman. Blunt can be seen as the consequence of not keeping one woman and trying to have many. He is robbed of all his belongings. Even at the end, all the men who are with a woman are now married or promised to be, while anyone else is left in despair and anger.

I thought this was quite different that some of the other plays I have read in the past because usually, though the institution of marriage does seem important, it is not below people to stoop to adultery.

February 16 – Katherine Phillips

Against Love

HENCE Cupid! with your cheating toys,
Your real Griefs, and painted Joys,
Your Pleasure which itself destroys.
Lovers like men in fevers burn and rave,
And only what will injure them do crave.
Men’s weakness makes Love so severe,
They give him power by their fear,
And make the shackles which they wear.
Who to another does his heart submit,
Makes his own Idol, and then worships it.
Him whose heart is all his own,
Peace and liberty does crown,
He apprehends no killing frown.
He feels no raptures which are joys diseas’d,
And is not much transported, but still pleas’d. (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/philips/againstlove.htm)

Katherine Phillips seemed like a very interesting writer to me. I found it really interesting that she was views as such a virtuous, noble individual and wrote on things the public deemed appropriate, such as religion, marriage, and other non threatening things. I think it was really neat that she focused so much on female friendships, which many other women writers did not seem to do.

I liked her sonnet, “Against Love”, which was ironically not about love, like other sonnets are. Although I do not necessairly agree… I think she had some good reasons behind her arguement. Love can be a wonderful thing and can make a person really happy, but depending on the situation you are in, it can be like a disease, and become destructive instead of something that makes you better. So not giving your heart away allows you to find out who you are and do things that you want to do while building yourself up. If you keep your heart to yourself, you don’t have to deal with all the crap that goes along with love. But I think in the end everyone still desires someone to love them, so no matter how strong you appear, eventually someone will come along and change your mind.

16th Century – February 2

The presentations on Elizabeth I and Askew were really interesting. I thought the group who talked about Elizabeth had a really good amount of interesting information on her life. It gave a great overview on who she was and what her major accomplishments were. I think everyone has heard something about Elizabeth I before, but not many may have known a lot of the facts that the group presented. I know I didn’t. I really liked that they had the video clips and little comics in their presentation as well. I think stuff like that really allows people to connect a little more with the subject because it lightens the heavy stuff up and also shows that it is a topic that is still important today… even if it is being made fun of.

I found the Askew presentation really interesting. I had never heard of her before and, to me, she seemed very brave to speak her opinions like that when the penalty would be death. I thought the “Tudors” clip was really good. I can’t imagine someone being burned at the stake. I found it kind of funny when the subject came up about the types of bribes people would give to the executioner for their friends and family. I know it is not meant to be a light topic, but just imagining having to pay someone to make a death shorter or longer, seems like such a foreign concept to me. Like to me, I would think a gift would be something like… jewelry, or a nice card… not a sack full of gun powder to go around my neck. Regardless, the presentation was very eye-opening and introduced me to a person I may not have come across on my own.

Middle Ages: Claiming religion

I found the January 26 class to be really informative. I thought Stacy and Jaclyn’s presentation on Nunneries was really interesting. They had ton’s of great information and made the subject very easy to understand. I didn’t really know a lot about nunneries before this so it was a good topic to talk about and allowed, at least myself, to aquire more information on the subject.I thought the fact that the nunneries were like their own little cities was pretty neat. That really allowed them to be self sufficient and focus on their beliefs. I thought it was really interesting that they built the chapels in the shape of crosses as well.

I think we find things like nunneries interesting because they are around today, but not in the number that they were in the past. It’s interesting to see how much culture and religion has changed since the middle ages up to now. It’s good to see that at least the number of woman who can participate in reading, and writing, has become equal with men since this time period. The world needs variety in its writings.

“The Wife’s Lament”

I read through the different versions of “The Wife’s Lament” and found it really interesting that there can be so many different translations of the same poem. It makes sense because everyone can have their own ideas of what a poet is trying to say. Especially since these poems have needed to be translated to English, it gives the translators the ability to play with the language a little bit more than if it was initially written in English.

I liked that all of them really captured the grief this author of the poem seemed to feel when they wrote the original poem. All of them capture basically the same scene, a woman who married and moved away from her family, and has now been left alone. I think that is a good indication of the time period because a woman would be taken away from her family, since women did not have the same rights that they do today. To me it seemed like the woman speaker in the poem’s was trapped in a loveless marriage, unable to escape due to the fact she is a woman. It’s an interesting collection of poems because it is hard to say if the original was in fact written by a woman or not. If it was written by a man it would give a different impression on the reader than the belief that it is a woman writing it.

Virginia Woolf

A little late but better than never!
I found “A Room of One’s Own” to be a really insightful read. Virginia Woolf is a fantastic writer and really gets down to the root of women writing during the time period. I found it very interesting that people shared my same views on her writing. She is definitely the model to follow for women’s writing. I felt like she had a very empowering voice for women during that time. Like many things, it was assumed that men were in charge of any substantial pieces of writing, so I really enjoyed that Woolf was concerned with women taking charge and writing more than just how to books. I also agree that your gender gives you a perspective to write from, as well as being your own person. A man and a woman could both write on the exact same thing but have two completely different reactions to it. I think no matter what you are reading, it is important to take these differences into consideration. Especially in the earlier centuries the experiences of men and women were really different, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that their writing was as well.