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The Vindication of the Rights of Woman

  • Date Submitted: 04/27/2013 11:02 AM
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“The Vindication of the Rights of Woman” Critical Review
Mary Wollstonecraft was born on April 27, 1759 in London, England.   She was raised in a very abusive home where her father would find solace in alcohol and she had to protect her mother from his drunken rages.   Consequently, she left home at the age of nineteen after her mother died.   She worked as a seamstress, then a school mistress to support herself which was against the norm.   Unfortunately, her sister, Eliza, fell into the same cycle of abuse in her marriage but Wollstonecraft was able to help her flee from her tyrannical husband (Wollstonecraft 302).     Her childhood was not an easy one, but because of what she endured it made her a strong and independent woman.   In 1792 Mary wrote “The Vindication of the Rights of Women” which was in response to the new French constitution of 1791 in which women lacked rights to liberties such as education, freedom to speak, write, print, worship or to become citizens.   She also wanted to respond to the report on education given by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord to the French National Assembly recommending that the education that girls receive should be directed to more subservient activities.   She wanted to persuade the reader that women needed a sound education in order to be a better and happier person in general, a better companion to her husband, a better mother to her children and a better member of society as a whole.   She also argued that men should practice the same morals and sexual constraints that were expected from women in that society.  
During the Romantic era women were encouraged to only to concern themselves with things such as how to dress, what makeup to wear, learning how to cook, having children and pleasing their husbands.   Wollstonecraft saw this as keeping women in a “state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone” too fragile and emotional to think rational (309).   This is the mentality that she was working to change....

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