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Final Brainstorming Notes - not really hold responsible his...

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This poem uses the image of a flea that has just bitten the speaker and his beloved to sketch a conflict over whether woman will give in and engage in premarital sex with the speaker. so the speaker, highly clever but grasping at straws, uses the flea, in whose body his blood mingles with his beloved's, to show how harmless such mingling can be--he reasons that if mingling in the flea is so harmless, sexual mingling would be equally harmless, for they are really the same thing. By the second stanza, the speaker is trying to save the flea's life, holding it up as "our marriage bed and marriage temple." But when the beloved kills the flea despite the speaker's protestations (and probably as a deliberate move to squash his argument, as well), he turns his argument on its head and claims that despite the high-minded and sacred ideals he has just been invoking, killing the flea did
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Unformatted text preview: not really hold responsible his beloved's honor--and despite the high-minded and sacred ideals she has invoked in refusing to sleep with him, doing so would not hold accountable her honor either. Young couples had the freedom to meet both publicly and privately. They could court or go on dates (using modern terms) to market, church and church events, visit at each others' homes, parks, barns, gardens, fields, and while on the job. Courtship did not imply marriage, and couples had to be careful about what they said to each other since any promise or expressed intent to marry was legally binding according to the laws of the Church. If a couple did mutually express an intent to marry, money was needed, or else they could plan on a long engagement until they could raise the necessary funds to provide a stable beginning for the potentially soon-to-be family....
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