Class And The Suffrage Movement Essay

1429 words - 6 pages

Suffragette Sally was a story of various women involved in the suffrage movement in England during the early 1900s. We follow the lives and times of Lady Hill, Sally Simmonds, and Edith Carstairs. Each of these ladies represent a different social class. By giving us a representative from each main social class Colmore deals with issues that varying classes may bring up in the movement. Throughout the stories of each character we see how each level of society viewed the suffrage movement and the women involved in it. The involvement and others perceptions on said involvement varied based on both the class of the woman and whether she was a suffragette or a suffragist. Despite differences in class and therefore lifestyle, these women at times dealt with very similar situations and problems.
Take for instance Lady Geraldine Hill. She is most obviously a higher class woman. She appears from the reading to be well educated as well. She starts out in the book as very outspoken and very much for the suffragette movement. She proclaims herself to be a militant suffragette and not a more peaceful suffragist while on her first walk with Edith along the beach. Though a short while later in the book she states that she really shouldn’t be included when talking about the movement because she really hasn’t done any leg work essentially. It is revealed that the reason she had not participated in any raids as Lord Henry Hill calls them is because she promised him she would only speak. However she comes to the conclusion that it may come to the point that she must participate and put her title to use getting exposure for the suffrage movement.
The day when she realizes that she needs to step up her involvement comes on the 24th of February 1909, or the day of the Women’s Parliament’s march on the House of Commons. Despite this, to the knowledge of the crowds, both of fellow protestors and of city folk, Lady Hill is nowhere in sight. Geraldine however, knew it was time for her to participate but did not want her title to factor into whether she would be arrested or not for protesting. She was aware that if her identity was known, the police would not arrest her and she wanted her title to further her cause, not protect herself. To her delight she was indeed arrested and thrown into jail. When she was but a number she was treated like every other prisoner, in particularly by the chaplain. However, when he gets word of her true identity he starts treating her differently, which seems to distress her. From that moment on she was no stranger to public acts for the suffrage movement.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Sally Simmonds representing the working class women of the 1900s. She was the servant to an upper class family who disapproved of the suffragettes. Sally takes pride in the fact that she subscribes to one of the movement’s papers and has taken a turn at selling said paper. However she at one point expresses a wish to do more for the...

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