This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Anna Letitia Barbauld's Washing Day Essay

690 words - 3 pages

Anna Letitia Barbauld's Washing Day

In "Washing Day" Anna Letitia Barbauld has done what Romantic poets can do best. She writes of an event that occurs periodically in every-day life, but she elevates the washing day chore to a challenge of epic proportions. Barbauld views the experience of wash day from the perspective of the woman she is and the child she was. At all times she is the poet who relates the Muses' song as a medieval minstrel might. Her skillful use of irony and hyperbole allows this poem to convey to contemporary readers the same humor and insight that an eighteenth-century audience would have appreciated.


Barbauld uses classical references and a few archaic words to give the poem an epic feeling. However, since the subject is a rather mundane one, the poem has an ironic mood throughout. The muses of literature and art are now absorbed in the domestic gossip of housewives at work. All the petty subjects of daily life, the delights as well as the annoyances, are replacing the tragedies of the Greek Pantheon. She has the muses trade their buskins (boots worn in Athenian tragedy) for slippers. Their language is no longer "high-sounding" phrases spoken by the gods, but it is idle chitchat "loosely prattling on." The poet uses the word "welkin" for the overturned bowl that is the sky. It is a word that would not be in common use in everyday speech, but it is a word typical of epic poetry, and it helps to make the subject seem far more important than it is.


When the poet speaks about the wifely duties that will be ignored on wash day, she not only uses a classical reference, but also an extreme exaggeration. The lady of the house is unavailable to darn her husband's stockings even if the hole "gape wide as Erebus." The yawning entrance to the underworld...

Find Another Essay On Anna Letitia Barbauld's Washing Day

Long Term Conditions - Essay

3701 words - 15 pages intervention and help to maintain good health. These support networks enable Anna to improve her quality of life. She is able to work with health care professionals and choose her course of treatment. The schemes also enable her family to be involved and make a positive impact on her care. Being provided with extra knowledge on support groups and day centers in her local area she is able to improve her health and life needs. These policies allow the

Ancestor Report: Simeon Adams Dunn

1953 words - 8 pages Mary. Maria was born March 3, 1836 but died the first of April. After those heartbreaking years of deaths, Simeon heard of the mormons and became very interested. He named his son Mosiah after the Book of Mormon and it’s people was born on February 19, 1837. The same day, his twin Anariah was born that day but died a few hours after birth. Betsy, who was a healthy child was born March 22,1838. At the time, Simeon’s brother James came to

Walking the Muddy Path- Original Writing

8361 words - 33 pages you” “I do now” Anyway how could she be happy she had been living with her mum, her dad and Anna who were permanently down each others throats even if it was just about the washing up. They were at it again. “Anna let me cook it’s my treat before I go. I mean what wrong with pork stew and boiled potatoes,” said Lisa “More like what is right with it. Besides it should be my treat and you should be eating

The Mary Celeste Mystery - Arguments on one of the most plausible theories

805 words - 3 pages was being found, according to Jim, the nine barrels were empty. Then it was known from Charles that secondly, it was believed that her hatches were closed during most of the voyage (up to the day of abandonment), which resulted no ventilation or little ventilation; and thirdly, since the vessel had started off in New York and supposed to be ending up in Genoa, it was possible that the alternation of the comparatively cool climate of New York to

Grandma Moses

761 words - 3 pages landscape with value, tonal and density variation. She studied nature directly, observing the colors to be found in the landscape. The technique for the landscape was a natural appearance; the figures were flat and abstract.In "Wash Day, 1945, Oil on ...", in which women and children are shown washing and folding sheets and clothing in front of farm buildings, she concentrated her attention on conveying atmosphere and seasonal changes but also used

Mother Teresa - Her life and times

1347 words - 5 pages Mother TeresaMother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910. She was baptised one day after her birth, to the name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Born in Chile, into a Catholic family, her father was a businessman who was CEO of a building company, and her mother was a lady called Drana, and she taught Agnes how to be a charitable human being. This would have paved the way for her generous and loving personality.In 1919, when Agnes was 9, her father died

The Effects of Pollution of Marine Life

1786 words - 7 pages turn affecting us through consumption. Literature Review Recovery of Marine Animal Populations and Ecosystems: Lotze, Coll, Magera, Ward, Airoldi In a research article by Lotze, Coll, Magera, Ward and Airoldi (2011) they examine the positive side of how ecosystems in the ocean can recover even though they are faced with many different types of struggles every day. The authors ask the main question: How common is recovery among depleted

Gender Changes In Popular Media

1441 words - 6 pages of housework. One woman showed off the new “4 Soaps in One” that could wash babies, sheets, hands, and dishes. Another woman boasted “Just a plain old cook --- that’s me!” One page even had a secretary telling another not to type to fast or hard because men do not like big biceps in women. “Men only like feminine ladies”. The woman’s place was still in the home. A man told his wife in a detergent drawing that she was great at washing and picking

Clean Drinking Water Reduces Death Rates in Developing Countries

2186 words - 9 pages The diseases spread by impure drinking water kill more people each year than Malaria and HIV/Aids combined. Experts estimate that more than five thousand children die every day in Africa due to diseases spread by contaminated drinking water. In the year 2013, more than thirty-four thousand people died of diarrhea related illnesses spread by dirty water (CBS 1). Dysentery, one of the many diseases that can come from dirty water, is a

The Ways in Which Muslims Worship in the Mosque

3192 words - 13 pages five times the day in the Mosque would have the great effect on the life of the Muslim. From the personal perspective, one has to set out the whole day, as times have to be specified to pray. If it is the particularly hot day and I have been playing football between prayers I would also have to consider washing many times in order to maintain the clean state to pray to Allah. The fact that there are no fixed times for

Conflict Diamonds

2263 words - 9 pages communities lacking properly trained teachers and schools, most parents have no choice but to send their children to work (Fofana). The article interviews a boy named Tamba James, who details an ordinary day as a miner, "I have to go to the mines because that is the only place I can raise money to feed myself and two brothers," James says. "The job is difficult, from transporting gravel and digging the soil, to washing the piles of gravel. I do this

Similar Essays

Pros And Cons Of The Washing Machine

1123 words - 4 pages machines have developed proficiently throughout all the years and are still developing day by day. From the wash board to the electric washing machine, laundry has truly been transformed in America, as a result, cleaning laundry is nearly effortless. Long ago, washing clothes was done through the process of rubbing sand on clothes, or by smashing the article of clothing with hard rocks. Also, by dipping clothing in water which removed excess dirt

Anna Barbauld Essay

2045 words - 8 pages Subtext of Anna Letitia Barbauld's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven." Wordsworth Circle 41.2 (2010): 91-94. Academic SerarchComplete. Accessed 1 Dec 2013. Lynch, Deidre Shauna, and Stillinger, Jack, eds. “Introduction.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Period, 9th ed. Vol. D. New York: WW. Norton, 2012. pp 3-10. Print. Lynch, Deidre Shauna and Stillinger, Jack, eds. “Anna Barbauld.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Romantic Period, 9th ed. Vol. D. WW. Norton: New York, 2012. pg. 30-45. Print.

Noblewoman In A Male Centered Society Essay

1651 words - 7 pages people of authority to speak on her behalf in reprimanding her husband. Alexander’s servant who was taking care of them at the time of great financial despair reprimands him stating: “The truth is that you would rather stay with the first [supervisor who is a part of Russian Voltarianism], who is leading you astray and most of all has separated you from your wife, who is suffering day and night” (p. 66). While Anna was living in Petersburg, she

Poverty Essay

2028 words - 8 pages home, she met a young man, by the name of Zadok, which surprisingly, lived two blocks from where she lives. They started meeting up after school and talked about their lives, Anna would be secure about her life because she was a bit shy about the state of living that she was living in, but one day she bravely told zodak about her living, but zodak ensured her in doing he will love her for who she is. Conversation after conversation Zadok gave Anna