Synthesis Paper.docx - In her essay A Vindication of the...

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In her essay A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Mary Wollstonecraft wrote, “ Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in” (). Published in 1792 was the first great feminist writing where the author shows that intellect will always govern and she “persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body” (). Wollstonecraft pointed out that the biggest obstacle to women to become intellectual was the lack of access to a good education and she highlighted the fact that women's minds were just as capable of reason and virtue as men's. Women are just as intelligent as men, it only made sense to treat them the same. On the other hand, Virginia Woolf said it was impossible for women to do quality artistic work because they were placed in terrible circumstances. Woolf said a women needed privacy, money, and good food to do good work and she wrote "a woman must have money and a room of her own" (). Thesis For that reason, in a patriarchal world women fell challenged to expressed themselves, to be educated, to become intellectual and to have professions as man have, as writers, or lecturers in colleges and universities. As a result, very few of them was able to attain this goal, to live lives full of passion and purpose and to find inner happiness. In 1901 Edith Wharton published “The Angel at the Grave” where Paulina Anson, an intellectual woman, invested her life in the profession of writing and preserving her grandfather’s memory. It is interesting to notice that Wharton modeled the story on the life of Sara Norton, the daughter of Charles Eliot Norton who do not married in order to stay home with her father. Wharton also create her fictional character Orestes Anson as reminiscent of Orestes Augustus Brownson, an American clergyman and writer who became famous before the Civil War. In the story, Dr. Anson was once a well-known literary celebrity who have only three daughters, none of whom were intellectual because at that time very few women were well educated as Wharton wrote, “the great man’s family that he had left no son and that his daughters were not ‘intellectual’” (32). However, Paulina his granddaughter, who was an exceptionally intelligent woman, chooses an intellectual life over a domestic one and lost many opportunities that could have brought her happiness. In addition, Paulina exemplifies the era in which it was written as she sacrificed her life in order to protect and promote her grandfather’s legacy. When the young publisher claims that Dr. Anson's ideas are no longer popular, Paulina starts to see her life as a "wasted labor," and she fells the "dreary parallel between her grandfather's fruitless toil and her own unprofitable sacrifice" (). But later on she reasons to find out why her grandfather's work has slipped from public consciousness. Wharton created in Paulina a character whose focuses on her interior life at the expense of a social life, which does not bring her fulfillment in life.
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