Mary Wollstonecraft

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Mary Wollstonecraft: Views on Feminism
Professor: Tina Davidson

State your topic.
Mary Wollstonecraft and her views on feminism.

Thesis main argument
State your thesis question.
What were Mary Wollstonecraft’s views on feminism?

Restate your question as an argument or the answer to your own question. Mary Wollstonecraft argued that women were deprived of being equal to men due to certain factors.

Thesis supporting (sub-) argument
List 3 arguments that are essential to prove your main argument.

1) Marriage as legalized prostitution
2) Education
3) Marriage as friendship

Thesis statement
Rewrite your main argument exactly as you wrote it above and the 3 sub-arguments listed above in 1-2 focussed sentences.

Mary Wollstonecraft believed that marriage was the same as legalized prostitution, the idea of education and independence was essential to live a virtuous and moral life, and that marriage should embody friendship and companionship.

List several (2-4) points which provide background information which is important to making your argument(s), but which will not be repeated later in the essay.

1) Mary moved around a lot during her childhood, had no real friends and her father was an abusive husband. 2) Meets a girl named Fanny, similar to Mary’s situation except she was educated, teaches Mary to self-educate. 3) Mary has a public affair and says that women shouldn’t get married anymore until the law change (one flesh doctrine) 4) Writes a short book named “Vindication of the Rights of Women”

Rewrite as a short paragraph/a few clear sentences.

Mary Wollstonecraft grew up with an abusive father and moved a great deal during childhood, causing her to not being able to make any real friends and was deprived of family love. Later on, she meets a girl named Fanny, who led a similar life excluding the fact that Fanny had an education and teaches Mary to self-educate. Soon afterwards, Mary becomes a writer and is able to support herself; she becomes fascinated by the ideas of the enlightenment and writes a short book named “Vindication of the Rights of Women”. It would’ve been a success if it weren’t for her scandalous love affair with a married man, which led her to declare that marriage should be invalid until the law changed and the one flesh doctrine was removed.


1) Restate the 1st sub-argument from the thesis as a clear, well-written topic sentence.

Mary Wollstonecraft believed that marriage was parallel to legalized prostitution.

List 1 quote from your sources which proves this sub-argument.

“Business of various kinds, they might likewise pursue, if they were educated in a more orderly manner, which might save many from common and legal prostitution. Women would not then marry for a support, as men accept of places under government, and neglect the implied duties; nor would an attempt to earn their own subsistence, a most laudable one! Sink them almost to the level of those poor abandoned creatures who live by prostitution.” (Wollstonecraft, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” 222)

Paraphrase one piece of information from your sources which proves this sub-argument. Wollstonecraft argued what may well be her most famous line, “To marry for support is legal prostitution.” She contended for intellectual companionship and friendship to be the ideal of marriage. She argued for an end to social prejudice against women which would, in turn, lead to women’s being defined by their character and work rather than by their marriages and social status. (Abbey, “Back to the Future: Marriage as Friendship in the Thought of Mary Wollstonecraft,” 79) List 1 point of your opinion, supported by one of your sources which proves this sub-argument.

Although marriage appears to be sacred, women in society would be deemed to be prostitutes somewhere along the continuum; it was merely a question of degree as to how much a...
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