Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2012

http://www.dmvi.cf.ac.uk/imageDetail.asp?illus=ESP013

This wood engraved illustration is entitled “In Prison” and it originally appeared in English Sacred Poetry.  The illustrator of this work was Henry Hugh Armsted and it was engraved by the Dalziel Brothers.  The illustration was used as a header to a poem.

In the engraving a man is sitting on a chair, by a large table with a book open, in his lap.  He is reading and contemplating his current situation.  It is apparent that he is in prison because there are bars over the window in his tiny room.  His room is very sparse, but he has on nice clothes.

Before 1830 there were only a handful of small prisons in England.  The more serious criminals were shipped to America, Australia, Tasmania or even executed.  After a large increase in the crime rate, lots of new prisons were built in England to hold the growing number of criminals.  Due to the industrial revolution there were more people living in the cities and the lawmakers needed to make sure they had a way to keep people under control.  Between 1842 and 1877 there were ninety new prisons built.  The prisons were purposefully made to be unappealing places where people would not want to go.  Inside of the prisons, prisoners would be made to stay silent or do hard labor such as walking on a treadmill or separating strands of rope.  In the 1840s the prisons in England used “The Separate System” where prisoners were kept by themselves in their room for most of the day so that they could face what they had done.

Old buildings that were damp and unsanitary were often used as prisons.  The gaoler was in charge of the prison and he could run the prison however he wanted.  Those who could afford it, could pay him in order to make their stay more comfortable.  For example, they could buy a better room and nicer food, or even buy books to read.  It was even necessary to pay the gaoler when your sentence was complete so that they would let you out of prison.

This wood engraved illustration gives us a lot of information about this particular prisoner.  He is obviously quite wealth and was able to pay the gaoler to give him a book to pass the time and some furniture to make his stay more comfortable.  The prison he is in is using “The Separate System” and he is sitting alone in his cell.  If not for his book this prisoner’s days would be quite dull.  The prisons in Victorian England were far from nice, but if you had the money to spend, your stay could be made more comfortable.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Beauty in Nature

In the Romantic novel, Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley both main characters seek to glean the healing powers of nature’s beauty.  During the Romantic period, the idea of exploration in a non-threatening wilderness held promises of restoration and joy for people’s overburdened minds.  Studying the beauty of nature soothes the mind and gives you a respite from everyday burdens and scenery.  In William Gilpin’s essay, On Picturesque Travel, he argues that the greatest beauty is that found in nature because, “we rather feel, than survey it” (218).  Nature allows people to turn off their mind and drink in the glorious scene in front of them.  Both Victor and the creature experience the great pleasure that comes from admiring the landscape but these feeling are short lived due to Victor’s scientific mind and the creature’s scientific creation.

The creature, a scientific creation, had little beauty in his life.  He was shunned by the world and his creator for his grotesque appearance.  The only minute pleasure that the creature encountered was in nature.  While walking through the forest the creature, “…felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive…” (107).  The beauty of nature is so strong that even the most troubled soul forgot his “…solitude and deformity, dared to be happy” (107).  Nature is the most powerful form of beauty, touching even those who have forgotten what beauty is, but the creature’s essence is rooted in science and therefore his true character; his tendency toward destruction cannot be erased.  His feelings of tenderness and pleasure led him to save the life of a little girl, but his gruesome features caused him to be shot by the girl’s companion, and suddenly, “the feelings of kindness and gentleness, which I had entertained but a few moments before, gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth.  Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind” (108).  No matter how powerful nature is, it is never able to fully change the character of the creature because he is a product of science.

Ignoring the beauty that nature holds can be dangerous, because nature gives the mind a rest and a chance to recover.  Victor’s constant pursuit of scientific discovery leads to his downfall.  During the summer, Victor threw himself into his work even though, “it was a most beautiful season; never did the fields bestow a more plentiful harvest, or the vines yield a more luxuriant vintage: but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature” (35).  Victor’s ego and desire for power drove him father and farther into his scientific explorations until he became physically ill and went farther than any scientist should.

Nature’s beauty is un-paralleled and holds no comparison; it is both powerful and healing.  Science however is unnatural and causes destruction.  Both Victor and his creature could not be saved by nature because they are both firmly grounded in science.

Read Full Post »

Angela Martin

English 56B

9/5/12

Women’s Rights

Undoubtedly Wollstonecraft’s work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman paved the way for Barbauld to write “The Rights of Women”.  As women and authors they had a unique voice and they sought to establish women as respected members of society who are capable of more than raising the children and running the household.  They felt that women had the same mental capacity as men and therefore deserved the same rights.  While both women advocated for the rights of women they went about it in different ways.  Wollstonecraft’s work is directed towards people’s reason and she makes logical arguments for her cause.  On the other hand, Barbauld’s work is a call to action for women.  While these two authors share a common purpose, they set about achieving their goal in different ways.

Wollstonecraft employes reasoning in her work, in order to argue her point.  Her work is directed to those who hold all of the power in society, which at this time, was exclusively men.  She argues that giving women the right to an education will benefit society.  Wollstonecraft states that women who receive an education and get physical exercise will be less overcome with the vapors and therefore will be less of a drain on society.  Women will become more hardy and thus able to contribute more.  Another argument Wollstonecraft uses to fight for her cause is that uneducated women will resort to undesirable means, including sinning, in order to achieve their ends.  Educated women would not have to resort to such methods, thus creating a less corrupt society.  Wollstonecraft endeavors to disprove the idea that giving women rights will be dangerous to society.  She argues the opposite, that women who have the right to an education will benefit society as a whole.

Rather than appealing to reason, Barbauld uses an emotional call to action in order to get women to stand up and demand their rights.  While Wollstonecraft uses a scholarly tone to appeal to men to give women rights, Barbauld demands that women forcibly take the rights that are denied to them.  Barbauld uses diction infused with violence and an urgent tone to whip her female audience into a frenzy.  She feels that if women’s rights are debated upon, women will never be given rights.  This is a direct reaction to Wollstonecraft’s work.  Barbauld felt that Wollstonecraft’s work did not achieve her desired end and therefore was not the most effective means of furthering the rights of women.  Therefore Barbauld has chosen to approach the issue in a different way.

However, by the last two stanzas of her work, Barbauld loses faith in her own purpose.  She laments that women are their own worst enemy.  It is in women’s nature to find protection within the companionship of a man, and within this relationship, women lose the tenacity needed to fight for their rights.  Enevitably women’s hearts win out over their reason and their cause is lost.

Barbauld was clearly inspired by Wollstonecraft’s brave attempt to garner women more rights within society.  However, seeing that Wollstonecraft’s work did not achieve her desired end, Barbauld attempted to achieve the same goal through different means.  Barbauld loses faith in women’s capacity to bring about change in the final stanzas of her work, but the overall feeling of her work is that women can gain more rights in their society.  Both women recognized the importance of this issue in their society and being well-educated themselves, were able to speak to the benefits of education for women and for society as a whole.

Read Full Post »

Introduction

Angela Martin

English 56B

9/5/12

Introduction

As a third year student at San Jose State University it is hard to believe that this is my first blog posting.  However it is never to late to try something new, so at the age of twenty I will make my first attempt at blogging and eventually I will write my first tweet.  Given the fact that this is my first foray into blogging, please forgive any formatting errors as I familiarize myself WordPress.

Read Full Post »

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

Read Full Post »