A New England Sibyl Vs. Miss Grief
Oppression has never been a word I have thought of when I thinking of the treatment of women. I have recently discovered women authors in history that have lived a double life that only women can. In the 1800s when Constance Fenimore Woolson and Mary E. Wilkings Freeman lived, they fought for equality with their words and the way they lived. They were women who were expected to be just pretty but silent, and they have been paving the way for women in the future to speak their minds . Though Woolson and Freeman lead different lifestyles, they both represent the female intelligence, strength, and independence. Woolson was born to a family of five in 1840. A few weeks after her birth, however, her three older siblings died of influenza. Freeman was born in 1852, as the second child to her parents, and she lost her sibling to the same influenza virus a few months after her birth. Like many families in the 1800’s, colds and flues were more likely to become deadly than they are today, and both women were effected by it early on in their lives. Spoiled by her parents, and being the only child, Woolson had the opportunity to travel with her father on business ventures. Freeman, on the other hand, was raised a puritan girl. She learned to be obedient, godlike, pious, and honest. She was a smart girl and a good student, so they sent her to her to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary where she lasted but a year. In “Jury of Her Peers”, she is quoted to have said, “I was very young. . . and went home at the end of the year a nervous wreck.” A student at a university, Lesa Z. Myrick, went further to illustrate that Freeman came home quite confused. She was, however, sure “that I ate so much beef in different forms and so many baked apples that I have never wanted much since.” Freeman misbehaved frequently in the school, attributing it to the boring diet and strenuous “goading of conscience” (Reuben). Woolson was also given an education at a...
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