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Note On Susan Rowson's "Charlotte Temple"

825 words - 3 pages

Susanna Rowson's "Charlotte Temple" is considered one of the masterpieces of its time. The number of copies sold right after its publication is indicative of how successful the work is. The novella brought Rowson into light as one of the most prominent female writers in the 18th century. It depicts women's situation and position in the 18th century American society. Women are presented as Subordinate to men. They are trapped in male domination; Charlotte's tragedy is a microcosm of the unbearable situation in which women were entangled in the 18 century.The tragedy of Charlotte Temple is a microcosm of 18th century American women. Charlotte, the young innocent, devoted, and well-behaved girl was seduced by a man who failed to keep his promises. His carelessness and indifference are at the origin of the adversity she underwent, leading to her ultimate death. Belcour, the perfidious man, separated between Charlotte and Montraville and did neglect her after he gave her fake promises. Madmoseille, who painted a seductive image fro the innocent Charlotte, did also lend a hand in Charlotte's tragedy. The very fact that Charlotte was let down not only by men but also by her own gender-Mademoiselle and the landlord lady-reveals that corruption exists at all levels. Women have to deal with women with the same vigilance and alertness that they should stick to when dealing with men.Rowson stresses that 18th century American women's main problem has to do with ignorance. Women seldom knew how to act and react to society's temptations. The very purpose behind her novella is to raise women's awareness, enlighten their thought, and show them the way to a successful life. "I flatter myself, be of some service to some who are so unfortunate as to have neither friends to advise, or understanding to direct them, through the various and unexpected evils that attend a young and unprotected woman in her first entrance to life" (881, Rowson reveals. Rowson, therefore, commits herself in this novella to further sensitize women against the evils inherent of society and to guide them as to how they should react to seduction. In certain passages, Rowson addresses women directly:"Oh mydear girls-for to such only am I writing-listen not to the voice of love, unless sanctioned by paternal approbation: be assured, it is now past the days of romance: no women can be run away with contrary to her own inclination: then kneel down each...

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