Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Biography. Jessica Stavig February 20, 2009. Mary Shelley's Influences. Her Parents: William Godwin Mary Wollstonecraft Both were enlightenment thinkers Her Husband: Percy Shelley A free enlightenment/romantic thinker . William Godwin ( 1756 - 1836).
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February 20, 2009
“government is a corrupting force in society, perpetuating dependence and ignorance, but that it will be rendered increasingly unnecessary and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge. Politics will be displaced by an enlarged personal morality as truth conquers error and mind subordinates matter.” (Philp) Due to this argument, he rejected forms of “mental enslavements, such as law, private property, marriage and concerts.” (Philp)
“a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore; and that women, in particular, are rendered weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty conclusion. … One cause of this barren blooming I attribute to a false sense of education, gathered from the books written on this subject by men who considering females rather as women than human creatures, have been more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than wives” (Wollstonecraft)
She says: “obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of sex.”(Wollstonecraft)
“I wish to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste are almost synonymous with the epithets of weakness, and that those beings who are only the objects of pity and that kind of love, which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of contempt.” (Wollstonecraft)
Basically, women shouldn’t live to appeal to men.
“some women govern their husbands without degrading themselves, because intellect will always govern.”(Wollstonecraft)
challenging “oppression, religion,
and convention” as well as calling
for “revolution and change.”
1) According to Wollstonecraft, “a degree of physical superiority [of men over women] cannot, therefore, be denied…”, but if women are intellectually or emotionally inferior to men, it is due specifically to what? What, in general, does Wollstonecraft blame for the seeming inferiority of women? Pick One:
a) Domestic abuse
b) Raising children.
c) Biased Language
d) False Education
e) Sexual intercourse
2) According to Wollstonecraft, “the minds of women are enfeebled by…” Pick One:
a) False Refinement
c) Sexual Intercourse
d) Nursing Children
3) According to Wollstonecraft, what separates man from "brute creation" (beasts)?
b) Sexual propriety
c) Divine blessing
4) "My own sex, I hope, will forgive me if I treat them like…"
a) "rational creatures instead of flattering their fascinating graces"
b) "the slaves of brutish man"
c) "mere prostitutes in the house of Satan's capitalist desire"
5) If women act like children, it is because
a) of Adam's actual corruption of Eve, which priests inverted
b) they are educated to be so
c) they spend all their time raising children, "who influence their feminine minds"
d) of society’s corrupting influence of natural goodness
So after reading the Vindication - what do you think about the idea of nature vs. nurture and gender? What is Wollstonecraft saying and do you agree or disagree?
* Taken from this is the quoted portion of Godwin’s An Account of a Seminary, 1783