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Robert O' Brien

Khan 1 EXAM PASSAGE ANALYSIS- Varda Khan 1209502 1) I have written this small volume … for the general use of all virtuous ladies and gentlewomen of this kingdom; and in commendation of some particular persons of our own sex, such as for the most part, are so well known to myself, and others, that I dare undertake Fame does not call any better. And this I have done, to make known to the world, that all women deserve not to be blamed though some forgetting they are women themselves, and in danger to be condemned by the words of their own mouths, fall into so great an error, as to speak unadvisedly against the rest of their sex; which if it be true, I am persuaded they can show their own imperfection in nothing more: and therefore could wish (for their own ease, modesties, and credit) they would refer such points of folly, to be practised by evil disposed men, who forgetting they were born of women, nourished of women, and that if it were not by the means of women, they would be quite extinguished out of the world, and a final end of them all, do like vipers deface the wombs wherein they were bred, only to give way and utterance to their want of discretion and goodness. Such as these, were they that dishonoured Christ his Apostles and Prophets, putting them to shameful deaths. Therefore we are not to regard any imputations, to our own benefits, as spurs to virtue, making us fly all occasions that may colour their unjust speeches to past current. -This passage is from Lanyer’s work in SDRJ, especially demonstrates that women should not be blamed (for the original sin) and that the same men who abuse women now are the ones who once abused Christ. Basically, the passage aims to empower women such that women should never undermine themselves and the perception society has about women. Further, Lanyer goes on to criticize men and mention the instance of the Passion which itself speaks towards her bold move as a writer. The fact that Lanyer was able to allude to the instance of Christ, was not only a bold move but further signifies how writing can serve as a platform and means for empowerment of women- sometimes allowing women to voice concerns that would’ve otherwise been shunned by society. -There are countless ways that this passage of Lanyer’s relates to different authors and works discussed in the duration of this court. Firstly, this passage related to both Woolf (in A Room of One’s Own) and Behn (in Oroonoko) as this passage is directly addressing its readers, especially as Lanyer says “for the general use of all virtuous ladies and gentlewomen”. That is to say, Woolf, Behn and Lanyer have all used the tactic of directly addressing their audience in the opening lines of their work and this is especially noticeable for Lanyer as she acknowledges that she wants a female audience for her work. Furthermore, as these narrators are female, their way of addressing the audience shows their narrative authority, further empower female authors even more. In addition, this passage also relates to Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and A True Copie petition, as both these works highlight the credibility of women writers. While Lanyer’s SDRJ aims to defend the treatment of women, Woolf defends women’s abilities as writers and the petition demonstrates women’s abilities as writers, and further their Khan 2 strengths as political members of society. 2) Mr Pym came to the Commons’ door, and called for the women, and spake unto them in these words: ‘Good women, your petition and the reasons have been read I the House; and is very thankfully accepted of, and is come in a seasonable time: You shall (God willing) receive from us all the satisfaction which we can possibly give to your just and lawful desires. We entreat you to repair to your houses, and turn your petition which you have delivered here, into prayers at home for us; for we have been, are, and shall be (to our utmost power) ready to believe you, your husbands, and children, and to perform the trust committed unto us towards God, our King, and country, as becometh faithful Christians and loyal subjects. -This speaker of this passage is Pym, the Parliamentarian politician who conveys this message to the women petitioners of A True Copie petition. In this passage, Pym technically notifies the women that he has heard their concern and now they should go home and pray by saying “we entreat you to repair to your houses, and turn your petition which you have delivered here, into prayers at home for us” (basically he brushes the women off by telling them to retrieve back to their original duties of being women). The passage leads to the question of whether the women’s petitioning was successful or not. While there were no real results for their action, some argue that women were successful as they weren’t petitioning to be treated differently and so being told to go back home and pray isn’t going against their morals of returning home and praying. Also, Pym’s answer was a fairly respectful response to women of that time and the entire pamphlet was about women appealing to the house of commons- which is what they did, and therefore, it was successful. Nevertheless, Pym’s response can also be taken negatively as Pym technically means that for next time, women shouldn’t bother with petitioning but should instead pray for the circumstances to improve. Furthermore, this passage speaks specifically towards the political success of women (especially women writers) and how society has responded to the political involvement of women. One can even argue that Pym had merely even tolerated women petitioning due to the rhetorical strength applied in the petition A True Copie because without the perceived gender weakness and other stereotypes applied by the women in their petition, Pym wouldn’t have even tolerated the mere act of women petitioning. Pym’s dialogue doesn’t only speak to the larger context of women’s political participation, but also outlines the type of response women writers of the petitioner received upon their writing. Nevertheless, this passage (and Pym’s dialogue) further speaks to the challenges faced by women as writers and as petitioners in a political society, where women’s access to political platforms was very restricted. -Since this passage speaks to the political participation of women writers, it can also be compared to the City-Dames Petition which was essentially a satire and mockery of women petitioning- it was men masked as women petitioning for the return of the Cavaliers, portraying women as lustful and promiscuous. Further, not only does the City- Dames Petition undermine women’s petitioning and political participation, it can also be compared to Pym’s response to the women such that it is evident through early modern Khan 3 literature, that men were rather sarcastic about women’s political participation and portrayed their objections with women’s political participation through their dialogues. That is to say, while Pym was sarcastic in telling women to go back home and pray about circumstances rather than petition any further, the writers of City-Dames Petition also were trying to delegitimize women’s petitioning and mock women’s political participation by highlighting the lustful aspects of women in relation to the Cavaliers. Nevertheless, both examples portray the constant efforts made by male figures to maintain the gender boundaries and constrain women from entering political platforms. In addition, this passage can also be related to the Covenant of Pleasure, especially in the end where despite Lady Happy’s efforts to change around norms and remain in the covenant, she was compelled to abide by societal expectations in essentially marrying and falling into the patriarchal kinship system. The instance of Lady Happy relates to this passage as towards the end of Covenant of Pleasure, the Prince had declared that he was to marry Lady Happy and no specific dialogue (or action) of Lady Happy was used to portray how she felt about it, the scene ended with their marriage declaring that Lady Happy’s earlier persistence in not marrying had been overlooked. This relates with the idea of women petitioners and Pym because despite women’s political efforts (and Lady Happy’s persistence to not abide by societal expectations), it is evident that at the end, the last decision (and authority) is almost always in the hands of a male (whether it be Pym or the Prince)- women’s persistence and efforts to reshape their gender boundaries may be considered, but it is essentially men who make the last call. 3) But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction – what, has that got to do with a room of one’s own? I will try to explain. When you asked me to speak about women and fiction I sat down on the banks of a river and began to wonder what the words meant. They might mean simply a few remarks about Fanny Burney; a few more about Jane Austen; a tribute to the Brontës and a sketch of Haworth Parsonage under snow; some witticisms if possible about Miss Mitford; a respectful allusion to George Eliot; a reference to Mrs Gaskell and one would have done. But at second sight the words seemed not so simple. The title women and fiction might mean, and you may have meant it to mean, women and what they are like, or it might mean women and the fiction that they write; or it might mean that somehow all three are inextricably mixed together and you want me to consider them in that light. But when I started to consider the subject in this last way, which seemed the most interesting, I soon saw that it had one fatal drawback. I should never be able to fulfil what is, I understand, the first duty of a lecturer to hand you after an hour’s discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks and keep on the mantelpiece forever. All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point – a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. -In this passage, the speaker is Virginia Woolf in a Room of Ones Own, where Woolf is arguing that when looking at women as writers of fiction, one must understand that women must have money and privacy in order to adequately write. That is to say, in the Khan 4 latter of this passage, Woolf acknowledges that worldly interruptions hinder a woman’s ability to write creatively and advance as a female author. Woolf’s analysis in terms of the needs of women writers speaks to the fact that women still have many inadequacies involved in the process of their writing and societal interruptions (barriers and limits) often influence women in their writing. Furthermore, Woolf’s perspective on the importance of monetary value (either being earned or just existing) for women writer’s is quite important as this helps to define what success means for women authors and whether monetary rewards are a good way to judge the success of women writers. Woolf’s analysis of both women writing in isolation and their need for money can relate to many author’s studied in the course as there were countless examples of women who were not writing in isolation (but rather in coterie networks) and were still able to prosper and there were also writers who came from aristocratic backgrounds but were able to excel in their writing. Furthermore, this passage helps to explain course themes as it targets the importance of factors such as money and isolation, and how economic pressures as well as societal interruptions have hindered women’s abilities as writers. -Furthermore, this passage specifically connects with other works in the course solely because Woolf is addressing her audience in the opening lines of the passage, which is similar to Aphra Behn, who in Oroonoko directly addresses her readers when she says “I do not pretend in giving you the history of the royal slave.” By addressing the audience specifically, in the opening lines of the literature, both Woolf and Behn set a tone for exactly what they will address in their work and this strength helps the authors to highlight their purposes in writing. In addition, this passage also relates to female writers of A True Copie Petition, such that it essentially argues for women’s equality as writers. In A True Copie Petition the writers of the petition are essentially (and subliminally) fighting for women’s potential in writing (and as political participants in society) by writing a petition. Similarly, in this passage, Woolf highlights (and definitely doesn’t undermine) the ability of women to be writers, but just illustrates that women need their personal space and economic security in order to write. This point is both similar and different from the petition, such that the petition writing did not require women to write in isolation nor did it encourage economic stability for women but women were still able to advance through their writing. While both Woolf and the petitioners highlight the importance of women writers and their abilities, they differ in the respect that Woolf encourages isolation and money to be used for good writing to come out, whereas the authors of the petition have portrayed that sometimes women’s unity and solidarity in writing (despite economic differences) can help women to produce great works that will further help them advance in their motives (eg/ political). 4) We are sure our husbands have little reason to hold their heads so high since the Cavaliers left the Towne, to our great griefs, our shops which heretofore were fragrant as the springs first flowers, occasioned by gallants frequent visits, are now like houses haunted with spirits, unfrequented, happy those daies when they were stuck with variety, Nobles, Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen – then every Khan 5 Citizens wife of any quality was occupied in her severall vocation, then might our husbands freely take the aire, or go to their countrey-houses, whilst we had those at our command to act their parts in the City, which was a great contentment (good soule) to them […] Besides my Lords, what an inconvenience it will be, when our poor husbands [who] have been hard at it all day, must be forced (though [they] may be disabled in the service) to work at night: in this we appeale to your Lordships, or else we must be forced to be at the trouble to send our Emissaries abroad to look out some friends […] “To trouble your Lordships no further, what do or will people think when they see that we are fixt in our husbands shops for no other use but (just as buckets are hung up finely painted in Churches) to extinguish the fire of some poore neighbouring building, when we might serve (were a right use made of us) to extinguish the high rising flames of a Kingdome. -This passage is basically from the City-Dames Petition where the narrator’s are arguably men portraying themselves as women to petition for the end of the war and for the Cavaliers to return back as they were the customers and lovers of the women (who were supposedly writing). The passage uses satire to draw on the fact that the women are compelled to sleep with their own husbands due to the absence of the Cavaliers. The fact that this petition was using the label of notoriously promiscuous women to partake in political matters somewhat delegitimizes use form of petitioning and women’s political participation. It is clear with this passage, that the men are using drag to perform femininity and further pass as women writers. Not only is this instance an insult to women’s political participation but it also allows men to criticize women’s traits by exaggerating the lust exhibited by women. Further, this passage shows that once again, male writers are able to write and contribute their works to undermine, contradict and disadvantage the efforts of women writers such that this mock petition is delegitimizing the real political efforts made by women writers of other petitions such as the True Copie Petition. -Furthermore, real petitions such as A True Copie Petition contrasts this petition and aspects of this passage, such that while this passage uses satire and women’s promiscuity to advance politically, A True Copie Petition uses rhetorical strength by emphasizing women’s emotional vulnerabilities to appeal to the House of Commons. Nevertheless, it is true that in both cases, women’s stereotypical traits are highlighted so that women are able to partake and engage in political discussions. Also, there are other ways in which A True Copie and City-Dames Petition contrast with one another such that one petition was serious and real, while the other was satire and fun (respectively). In addition, the fact that this passage allows for men to pass as women, using techniques of drag femininity also relates to aspects of cross-dressing which was seen in Convent of Pleasure where the Prince cross-dresses as a Princess and entered the convent to further invade female space and choices. That is to say, while the convent for Lady Happy was her retrieve and method of escape from societal boundaries, the cross- dressing allowed male characters to invade, overtake and reshape Lady Happy’s space, which is very similar to City-Dames Petition such that men were once again using drag Khan 6 and passing techniques to invade female means of overcoming political participation by further delegitimizing the form of petitioning for women writers. 5) [Speaker 1] : Faith, let us resolve to put ourselves in women’s apparel, and so by that means get into the Convent. [Speaker 2]: We shall be discovered. [Speaker 1]: Who will discover us? [Speaker 2]: We shall discover ourselves. [Speaker 1]: We are not such fools as to betray ourselves. [Speaker 2]: We cannot avoid it, for, our very garb and behaviour; besides, our voices, will discover us. For we are as untoward to make curtsies in petticoats, as women are to make legs in breeches; and it will be as great a difficulty to raise our voices to a treble-sound, as for women to press down their voices to a bass. Besides, we shall never frame our eyes and mouths to such coy, dissembling looks, and pretty simpering mopes and smiles, as they do. [Speaker 3]: But we will go as strong lusty country wenches, that desire to serve them in inferior places, and offices, as cook-maids, laundry-maids, dairy-maids, and the like. [Speaker 4]: I do verily believe, I could make an indifferent cook-maid, but not a laundry-, nor a dairy-maid; for I cannot milk cows, nor starch gorgets, but I think I could make a pretty shift, to wash some of the ladies’ night-linen. -This passage is about a conversation between Monsieur Take-Pleasure and Monsieur Advisor in Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure where the men are essentially talking about going to the convent while cross-dressing as women. The advisor argues that men cannot really pass as women, raising the question of whether gender is performative and whether men would be able to perform the role of women through cross-dressing and entering the convent. Also, this passage speaks to the rest of the closet drama and the themes of the course, as in this passage, the men are discussing the possibility of over- taking spaces that are exclusive for women. That is to say, in a male dominated society, where essentially women’s spaces are restricted, these men are using techniques of cross-dressing to pass as women and further invade the convent. By retrieving to the Convent itself, Lady Happy is technically performing a deviant act (of ignoring the kinship patriarchal system) and the acts of cross-dressing symbolize the men’s attempt at monitoring women’s obedience of the patriarchal norms. -Furthermore, the aspect of cross-dressing relates to the City-Dames Petition where male writers were using drag femininity as a way of passing as female in their writing. That is to say, while Monsieur Take-Pleasure and Monsieur Advisor aim to cross-dress as women to enter women’s private spaces, the writers of the petition were also aiming Khan 7 to do something similar, such that men want to overpower and have their influence on women’s political participation (such as petitions) and their other private spaces. In a patriarchal society, it seems that there is essentially nowhere that men have allowed women to flourish on their own. Even in spaces that are confined to women only, men are able to use techniques such as of drag and cross-dressing to pass as females and further invade the space. Also, this 6) I do not pretend, in giving you the history of this royal slave, to entertain my reader with adventures of a feigned hero, whose life and fortunes fancy may manage at the poet’s pleasure; nor in relating the truth, design to adorn it with any accidents but such as arrived in earnest to him. And it shall come simply into the world, recommended by its own proper merits and natural intrigues; there being enough of reality to support it, and to render it diverting, without the addition of invention. I was myself an eye-witness to a great
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