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Literature and Women as the Weaker Sex

4 Pages 1038 Words July 2018

In many cultures throughout history, women have been viewed as the weaker sex. This status has constructed certain expectations of women. With women being viewed as lesser than, it justifies unfair behavior such as lower wages. This behavior elicits contradictory thoughts about women, claiming they should bare the world, but have no power within it. Unlike men, women are thought to expire quickly, as if they are wasted if not used. These thoughts are perfectly depicted in Anne Bradstreet’s poems “The Prologue” and “The Author to Her Book,” along with Maxine Kumin’s “Sonnets Uncorseted.” With these poems, we are able to witness women’s ability to find a voice through clever utilization of the female apology during a time of complete male domination. First, through Parini’s book “Why Poetry Matters,” we will be able to see the ways poets and their works have pushed boundaries and resisted against oppressors throughout time.
In a time when philosophy was king, Parini explains how poetry was its greatest adversary; Plato warned against poets and their ideas out of fear that they would corrupt the youth of Athens (3). This left poets in fear of exposure, as the nature of a poet is to push boundaries. Plato would frequently refer to poets as “imitators of nature,” which would surely corrupt the young. However, not everyone felt this way; Aristotle agreed with Plato, but he did not see these “imitations” as damaging. Instead, he saw beauty and life within poets expression through figurative language. In the 18th-19th century, poetry transformed from this ancient perspective and began to take a new form. It became the defiant proclamation against authority as we are more familiar with today (4-11). With Bradstreet and Kumin’s poetry, we are able to see how these women are beyond their time, Bradstreet dating to the 17th century, and Kumin discussing the same time period.
In Bradstreet’s poem “The Prologue...

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