A Mercy

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Calvin Thompson


March 9, 2009

Mr. Darrick Morris


Seventeenth Century

“A Sex Deprived”

Women in the seventeenth century were challenged with expressing themselves in a patriarchal system that generally refused to grant merit to women's views and high status roles. They had no say so in cultural and political events such as slavery, and often felt like impartial humans. In Toni Morrison’s latest novel “A Mercy,” she proves this theory with her few but important excerpts from the various females in this novel,Rebekkah, Lina, Sorrow, and Florens. With the language and examples that Morrison uses we get a feel for the lifestyles and mentalities, of the women in the seventeenth century, and see the depravity of knowledge and power. As a scholar I needed to understand in full the way of life of women in the seventeenth century and their fight for progression, before I could relate to the female characters in “A Mercy”. The way these females are dependent on their male counterparts or masters shows there lack of knowledge and inferiority trapped in a world inside the world.

The seventeenth century was not an era of drastic changes in the status or conditions of women. Women continued to play a significant, though not acknowledged, role in economic and political structures through their primarily domestic activities. They often acted as counselors in the home, "tempering" their husbands' words and actions “Here I am not the one to throw out. No one steals my warmth and shoes because I am small. No one handles my backside. No one whinnies like sheep or goat because I drop in fear and weakness. No one screams at the sight of me. No one watches my body for how it is unseemly. With you my body is pleasure. Is safe. Is belonging” (Morrison 137) Though not directly involved in politics, women's roles within the family and local community allowed them to influence the political system. Women were discouraged from directly...
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