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From “The Journal of Madam Knight”. Sarah Kemble Knight 1666-1727. Why is this so important?. Why was it unusual in 1704 for a woman to make a business trip from Boston to New York and back? Travel at this time meant hours on horseback through woods and across streams.

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from the journal of madam knight

From “The Journal of Madam Knight”

Sarah Kemble Knight

1666-1727

why is this so important
Why is this so important?
  • Why was it unusual in 1704 for a woman to make a business trip from Boston to New York and back?
    • Travel at this time meant hours on horseback through woods and across streams.
      • Enough “To startle a more masculine courage.”
the journal
The Journal
  • In the first entry in her journal, Madam Knight describes an episode that fills her with terror.
    • What is this episode?
      • A description of her fear of drowning while crossing the hazardous river.
    • Why is this significant?
      • A contradiction of “masculine courage”
the journal1
The Journal
  • Other elements that frightened:
    • “…tormented with visions of drowning” (42).
    • In dread of “dolesome woods” (43).
    • Darkness is terrifying (43).
the journal2
The Journal
  • What is the purpose served by Madam Knight’s thoughts on the sight of the moon?
    • Diversion from the uneasiness.
      • The moon is the goddess Cynthia, who makes old hag, Night, loosen her cloak. Woods are filled with light, and Knight with joy. (43)
  • Identify examples of this uneasiness throughout her journal.
the journal3
The Journal
  • What are Madam Knight’s impressions of:
    • Marriage customs in New Haven
      • People married young and at public weddings.
      • The bridegroom left and was dragged back by the bridesmaid (46).
    • Religious customs in New York
      • People were not strict in keeping the Sabbath
      • They were sociable to one another and courteous to strangers.
  • She seems struck by unusual holidays and games (45)
  • Makes special mention of fashions (47) and popularity of sleigh riding (48).
the journal4
The Journal
  • From what point of view did Madam Knight observe her experiences on the journey from Boston to New York?
    • From that of a well-educated city person
  • What signs of her reading appear in her journal?
    • Alludes to Cynthia and Neredies from mythology (43)
    • She imagines a sumptuous city like those in stories (44)
    • Reminded of the Olympics (45)
the journal5
The Journal
  • How does Madam Knight’s city upbringing affect the way she sees “Bumpkin Simpers” and “Joan Tawdry”?
    • To her they look ridiculous because they lack education.
the journal6
The Journal
  • How does Madam Knight challenge the “times”?
writing and responding to literature
Writing and Responding to Literature
  • Paraphrase the following passage so that it is easier to understand:
    • I cannot express the concern of mind this relation set me in: no thoughts but those of the dangerous river could entertain my imagination, and they were as formidable as various, still tormenting me with blackest ideas of my approaching fate – sometimes seeing myself drowning, otherwhiles drowned, and at the best like a holy sister just come out of a spiritual bath in dripping garments. (Knight 42)