Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Margaret Fuller's book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is written with the flowery, emotional language of the early Nineteenth century. It is often almost unbearable to read as Fuller attempts to use big words and backs up her ideas with the most outlandish citations. In all, one could probably get the same general idea after watching a bad re-run of Dawson's Creek portraying the teens' high school years, which seemed to center around Joey's struggle to define her own identity away from Dawson. It would certainly save agonizing hours of reading. However, all petty insults to the author aside for the moment, just the fact that the same general theme still comes up today that Fuller wrote about during her lifetime corroborates claims calling her "America's first true feminist" (page viii) And, while her writing argues for an improvement in women's status from what she saw during the early nineteenth century, it also reflects how the social constraints of the time had their effect on one particular woman. Essentially, Fuller argues against the state of ignorance in which she sees women being kept. She dislikes such excuses at that fathers believes that women should be educated as well as men. She believes that women should be able to get jobs and work in the public sphere if they so choose. She gives numerous examples of cases in which educated women make better wives, which have alluded that, in the end, this education is really just another means of benefiting the men in the world. However, Margaret argues, women should be able to be educated solely to improve their own lives, even if they never marry. Women can be just as happy, she says, serving others in the public sphere, or as nuns. Margaret still seems to be effected by society's teachings that women were meant to make others' lives comfortable. Even when she is arguing that a woman does not need a husband to make her happy, she is giving...
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