Mary Astell

1849 WordsJul 7, 20188 Pages
December 7, 2013 Mary Astell “If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?” This quote was from one of Mary Astell’s pieces of literature and it was a question she wanted all women to ask themselves. Mary Astell is known as “the first English feminist” and I chose her as my topic for this paper, because I believe in a lot of her beliefs about how women should be treated equally to men and be allowed to pursue whatever they wish- whether that be a career or a degree. I though she’d be an interesting topic and her views on feminism have made an impact on they way women think today, which means that I think she should be included in the canon of major English writers. Mary Astell was born in 1666 to Mary Errington…show more content…
“For pray, what do men propose to themselves in marriage” (Greenblatt 2421)? Women were taught how to cook, clean, and please their future husbands at very young ages and these things were expected of them. Since the very beginning women have had to sacrifice their wants and desires whether it be for their husbands or children. Mary Astell tried to get women to realize this, so they could begin to understand that they deserved more than fulfilling their “duty” as wife or mother. The quote above asks what men look for when deciding whom to marry. Some chose a wife according to the wealth of her family, or by how beautiful they are, or the woman’s ability to clean and cook. When Mary Astell was a woman old enough to marry she noticed this and wondered why women weren’t able to do the same? If men were allowed to make a checklist of who they were able to marry, why couldn’t we do the same? Women were forced into arranged marriages with no say to who they’d marry and no ability to deny the proposal. “Thus, whether it be wit or beauty that a man’s in love with, there’s no great hope of a lasting happiness” (Greenblatt 2422). I picked this statement from her novel, because in many relationships today it’s true, but now it isn’t just the men who pick their spouse for reasons such as beauty or greed. Today many women will marry a man depending on the paycheck they cash in every week, but in Mary’s text she describes
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