On Mary Wollstonecraft 'a Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman' (1792)

1817 words - 7 pages

The object of this essay is to discuss two passages from 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) , and to identify in what ways, and to what extent this text is 'modern'. To achieve this, an analysis of the main ideas and arguments of the text will be conducted, together with an attempt to identify ways in which the text responds to the ideas, social circumstances and cultural preoccupations of its own time as well as the ways in which it has influenced subsequent debates on women's rights.It is first necessary to define the term 'modern'. Modern culture or Modernity is an umbrella term for a number of cultural developments that took place primarily in Europe and North America over a period stretching from the 17th century through to our own day. The core themes that have shaped Modernity have been the secularisation of culture, the acceptance of the individual as the basic unit of society (i.e. that society is made up of individuals), the emergence of a technological world-view that accompanied the rise of instrumental rationality to a position of pre-eminence, and finally, the development of a Liberal culture that flowed from an increasing societal acceptance of liberal democracy.The intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, which came to be known as the Enlightenment, ushered in this new age of Modernity, and saw a synthesizing of the ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man into a worldview that gained wide assent and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness. This movement celebrated change as a vehicle for progress. They consequently formulated a new relationship with tradition, viewing it as backward looking and based on irrational principles that were now being revaluated through the application of reason. A belief in the existence of natural laws, that underpinned not only the natural world but also human societies led to a belief in universalism, the belief that humanity is basically the same despite cultural differences .It is within this cultural framework that the English eighteenth century social theorist, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) . The key issue for Wollstonecraft, as it was for all Enlightenment thinkers, was the understanding of all human beings possessing a universal innate quality of reason. She widens the definition of human being to include women, and thus extended to women the social, educational, economic and political rights that men were considered, by the theorists of the time, to naturally possess.The Rights of Woman was written at a time in English history when political participation and many social and economic rights were limited to men of property. The aim of eighteenth...

Find Another Essay On On Mary Wollstonecraft 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' (1792)

The Influence of The History of Rasselas on A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

2196 words - 9 pages The Influence of The History of Rasselas on A Vindication of the Rights of Woman         A surprising commonality found between Johnson's The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia and Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is their shared views on women's issues. This commonality is surprising since the two authors had different political viewpoints. While Johnson was a conservative Tory, Wollstonecraft was a social

Life of a Sensuous Woman and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

1842 words - 7 pages Ihara Saikaku’s Life of a Sensuous Woman written in the 17th century and Mary Woolstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman written in the 18th century are powerful literary works that advocated feminism during the time when women were oppressed members of our societies. These two works have a century old age difference and the authors of both works have made a distinctive attempt to shed a light towards the issues that nobody considered

Mary Wollstoncraft's, The Vindication of the Rights of Women

1167 words - 5 pages Mary Wollstoncraft's, The Vindication of the Rights of Women Mary Wollstoncraft's book, "The Vindication of the Rights of Women," is an incredibly insightful look into the life of women in the early portion of this century. It is a philosophical examination of the condition of women, in relationship to some very basic rights, and is also a very enlightening look at how short a distance we really have come, as a society, in relationship to

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and An Ode Popular Superstitions of Highlands of Scotland

2673 words - 11 pages Comparing Unification in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and An Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland        In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft seeks to abolish repressive, orthodox conventions. She endeavors to abate manners that lacerate our society, that elevate man above woman, that prohibit equal exchange between the sexes. This unequal system of gender roles forms the basis of

History of Woman's Rights rooted in Mary Wolfstonecraft's Publication Vindication of the Rigts of Women

1704 words - 7 pages While the issue of women’s suffrage has roots based in every country in the world, most think that the initial inroads were painfully carved through the efforts of early women pioneers in America. This perception is easily formed due to the early publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Right’s of Women in 1792. However, the movement gained national attention in New Zealand in 1893 and in Australia in 1902, eclipsing the

Women’s Inequality in Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women & Rousseau’s On the Origin of Inequality

1174 words - 5 pages Both Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft agree that in society women and men are not equals. Rousseau’s idea that socialization brings inequality in his Discourse On the Origin of Inequality is manipulated by Wollstonecraft in her A Vindication of the Rights of Women. She uses his arguments to prove that the inequality between men and women is not natural, but it comes from Rousseau’s idea of socialized inequality. The inequality

A Vindication of the Right of Women and Woman in the Nineteenth Century

1384 words - 6 pages Education of Women in A Vindication of the Right of Women and Woman in the Nineteenth Century        In two centuries where women have very little or no rights at all, Mary Wollstonecraft and Margaret Fuller appear as claiming voices, as two followers of feminism. Two women separated by a century but united by the same ideals. In these male- dominated societies, these two educated women tried to vindicate their rights through one of the

A Comparison of Jane Eyre vs. Mary Wollstonecraft

696 words - 3 pages Jane Eyre vs. Mary Wollstonecraft   There is no doubt that Charlotte Bronte knew the works of Mary Wollstonecraft, and she knew them well. Although Wollstonecraft's ideas were written a hundred years beforehand, many women did not read her work because it was not easily attainable. Many women were not educated to read this piece of literature and many men deemed it unimportant to their education. Bronte's works were cleverly

A Word from the Wise: Mary Wollstonecraft

894 words - 4 pages Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the very first English feminists (1). She had brilliant ideas and wrote about them all the time. She often found herself hating other women in which she thought they were the definition of what was wrong with the women population. She wanted women to take a stand and fight for their educational rights, not to be weak and depend on men for their identity (2). Mary Wollstonecraft wasn’t taken seriously by many people

Mary Wollstonecraft: A Radical Englishwoman

1766 words - 7 pages Vindication of the Rights of Women in response to a literary response to the society's so-called proper behavior of a woman and what her rights should be. But her opinions were brought on by more that the ability to think for herself; she suffered much during her childhood and throughout the years to come. Wollstonecraft dealt with the beating of her mother and sister, death of a close friend, and even a nervous breakdown of her sister

The Fourth Revolution (An Analysis of the more radical idea between Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft)

1075 words - 5 pages situation of equality for women so they may encourage others to take up arms with them and fight for equality. From the two different texts written by Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” is the more radical of the two texts of the day due to Wollstonecraft covering a broader range of subject that women dealt with in her day. Wollstonecraft first begins will addressing education in her

Similar Essays

An Essay On A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman

1084 words - 5 pages have not taken advantage of these rights, establishing themselves as equals to men within schools, at work, and in the home. In comparison to 1792, in which A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was written by Mary Wollstonecroft, women’s rights have vastly improved. In the time of Wollstonecroft, women were unwittingly oppressed by men for years through lack of education and operant conditioning that taught them to be nothing more than attractive

Analysis Of Vindication Of The Rights For Women By Mary Wollstonecraft

991 words - 4 pages is a strong feeling, be it happiness, sadness, anger or liberality. You can be passionate about many things such as love, sports, food, or intimacy. However, it can also mean having a strong yearning for something. Vindication of the Rights for Women by Mary Wollstonecraft was published in 1792, during the French Revolution. Wollstonecraft preached that intellect will always govern to persuade women not to endeavor to acquire knowledge but

A Short Response To Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman"

678 words - 3 pages defined, such an attention to a child as will slowly sharpen the senses..." (p. 263). It appears that Wollstonecraft is fighting the idea of women as frail, artificial 'creatures' who are meant to be merely appealing to men. On page 265, Wollstonecraft continues on with, "Probably the prevailing opinion, that woman was created for man, may have taken its rise from Moses's poetical story..." She continues on, being pretty rough on men the entire time

A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman Book Report

1330 words - 6 pages When I hear the word feminism, I automatically think of theories that want to place woman in a superior position to man. This is what most people think. When I was reading A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, I questioned if Mary Wollstonecraft was truly a feminist. So I looked up the definition of feminism and discovered that it is not an issue of one sex being superior. It is an issue of equality. In light of the definition, Wollstonecraft is