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Opposition to the Women's Rights Movement
This piece, written anonymously—though it is suspected that John L. O’Sullivan (1813–1895) may have authored this text—was submitted to The Democratic Review in 1852. It was designed as a rebuttal to Dr. Dewey, who, in defense of women’s rights, denied Biblical justification for the subjugation of women to their husbands.Pair “Opposition to the Women’s Rights Movement” with “Verses Written by a Young Lady, on Women Born to Be Controll’d!” and ask students to discuss the nature of subservience in each text, regarding women to men. Ask them to consider the kind of rhetoric women were up against when it came to denouncing them as inferior.
Advice to the Newly Married Lady
- Samuel K. Jennings
In “Advice to the ‘Newly Married Lady’” (1808), a doctor from the 19th century advises new wives to defer to their husbands.Pair “Advice to the Newly Married Lady” with “Verses Written by a Young Lady, on Women Born to Be Controll’d” and ask students to discuss the relationship between a wife and husband, as depicted in both pieces.
Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own
- Virginia Woolf
In Virginia Woolf’s “Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own,” a speaker explores the inequalities that exist between women and men who are pursuing their artistic and creative passions.Pair “Verses Written by a Young Lady on Women Born to Be Controll’d” with “Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own” and ask students to discuss how both authors depict the experiences of women. How do the two authors illustrate the physical and spiritual constraints on women’s lives? How do they explore the importance of allowing women creative outlets?
- Zora Neale Hurston
In the short story “Sweat,” a working woman tormented by her husband loses her patience.Pair “Verses Written by a Young Lady, on Women Born to be Controll’d!” with “Sweat” to provide students with another literary work about the status of women. Ask students to compare the themes of the two texts. If Delia from “Sweat” were to read this poem, how might she respond to the sentiment expressed in the last stanza of the poem?
The Solitude of Self
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
In Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speech “The Solitude of Self,” Stanton discusses the importance of rights for women so that they may go through life independently.Pair “Verses Written by a Young Lady, on Women Born to Be Controll’d!” with “The Solitude of Self” and ask students to discuss how women have been forced to rely on men in the past. How would allowing women to have their independence give them greater control over their lives? How do students think the anonymous poet would react to the ideas expressed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her speech?