Date: Mar 9th, 2010 7:47:49 pm - Subscribe
1There’s a lot that comes to mind when one thinks about women’s literature. Oppression, growth, romance, feminism, these are the concepts and ideas that sprung to my mind at the beginning of this course. I figured that we would read a couple of the classic female authors and call it good. I didn’t expect to get a history of women authors and to watch how the ways in which literature morphed into what we know it as today, but I believe this to be particularly helpful in giving us the bigger picture of women authors. As the old saying goes, “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” and that is especially relevant in this genre of study.
2The first week, we examined Sappho and her writings on love. We discussed the way in which she viewed love and how she loved her female students on the Island of Lesbos. It was a good point to launch ourselves into our journey because we talked about a familiar literary concept such as love in a new context (or at least it was new for me, having never read Sappho, or much of anything in the way of ancient poetry--much less so by a female author) Here, Sappho proclaims to Aphrodite her sentiments:
3“For even if she flees, soon she shall pursue.
4And if she refuses gifts, soon she shall give them.
5If she doesn’t love you, soon she shall love
6even if she’s unwilling.” (Sappho, 1)
7Sappho personified Aphrodite in order to address her better, and it seems as though we have no problem personifying objects while writing, but gods are always written as vague entities, without any real body to speak of or traits outside of their area of worship.
8From Sappho, we transitioned into a more religious view of a single God and the seeing the ways in which women’s lives. I felt more like the relevant part of those readings were more so the accounts the women writers were trying to convey, rather than the actual writing they did. God and their husbands were the driving factors in their lives, and that was an important lesson for us before we were to truly understand the work of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.
9Anne Elliot’s entire world of Persuasion was the societal expectations placed upon her by family obligation or cultural norms. Having seen some of what preceded the era, we could understand the trajectory that a woman such as Anne would have in that world.
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