Feminism is described in many ways, but mainly it can be gathered as a movement against oppression, which fights for the civil and political equality of women and men, and towards the opportunity of self-independence. During the eighteenth century, Great Britain's society offered little opportunity for women to take part in the active roles of the male dominated world. Women were unable to participate in political, economic or social dealings. Society understood that women were supposed to be submissive to men, that their natural destiny was marriage, and that women needed only minimal education. Denying women a proper education was men's main weapon for keeping women subordinate.
On the contrary, Samuel Johnson highly believed in the human condition, in the opportunity of equal considerations and that women should be educated. In The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (1759) Johnson explores much more than Rasselas' need for a choice of life and/or search for an identity by exploring the pursuit of happiness. In the novel, Johnson brings forth powerful characters, both male and female to transcend gender roles. These characters will travel around Samuel Johnson's feminist views on the meaning of happiness, touching on themes as oppression, marriage and education.
This paper will explore through the male characters' consideration of women and through the women characters' experience, that education leads towards good human understanding and therefore towards happiness. Nevertheless, it will also point out that Johnson's Feminist thinking, which gives in to society's morals and ideals, falls short at the end of the tale, since nothing is concluded and all return to their imprisoned sate of life in the secluded "Happy Valley".
The narrative begins with a pastoral description of the valley. The scene is practically... [continues]
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