Close Reading American Literature

Women Rule

Fanny Fern is an identity Sarah Willis formed after her brother, a publisher,  rejected her writing and even encouraged others to do the same. He believed her writing was radical and inconsiderate, little did he know she wrote pieces that genuinely thrive in the average woman’s mind, even today. On July 10, 1858, Fern wrote ‘A Law More Nice than Just’ untangling the unfairness of the household. She writes:

“Think of the married women who stay at home after their day’s toil is done, waiting wearily for their thoughtless, truant husbands, when they might be taking the much needed independent walk in trousers, which custom forbids to petticoats… What a fool I was not to think of it- to remember that men who make the laws, make them to meet all these little emergencies.” (Fern, 1858).

This passage caught my eye mostly because of the last sentence, reading “[the] men who make the laws, make them to meet all these little emergencies.” Fern illustrates, not only a strong minded woman, but a unjustifiable government. A government who denies/creates rights depending on whether it will benefit them or not.

Fern’s life may have contributed plenty to her writing styles. She had an awful brother who disregarded her articles, refused to move in with her family after the death of a husband and chose to raise 3 children through low-paying jobs. Her self-reliant attitude was something she wanted to see in other woman, making me proud to write about her today in 2016.



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3 thoughts on “Women Rule

  1. Caroline,

    I think this is a wonderful start. It’s absolutely saddening to think about all the potential and capacity for innovation that a lot of women weren’t allowed to explore simply for being women. It’s really saddening to think about all of the artwork and contributions to science, society, life in general that women and people of other races and everyone that was ever discriminated against could have offered to us. Nonetheless, if you want to focus on women and how they were trapped, a great example and perhaps the very reason why women were able to start writing would be Aphra Behn. A teacher I took in a previous semester said that all women should thank her for being able to speak their minds because she paved the way for women writers. She was a very successful playwright that made a living off of her writing and it is rumored that she was not actually even married and that she formulated a fake husband and then faked his death so she could be left alone. She’s very interesting and her allusion to a prostitute character in one of her novels by the name Angelica Bianca (notice the initials AB) has drawn criticism towards her. Personally I think she is absolutely fascinating and there’s a lot that can be said about her and other female writers that suffered censorship and other obstacles in their quest to write and publish. Men were considered to be the head of “public life” and writing was a public act while women were supposed to be private and meek and hidden so women were not allowed to write. I don’t know but I feel like you can have an amazing essay just on badass women that decided to write anyway despite the challenges they faced. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aphra Behn is a wonderful writer–I love her work and I think you would, too, Caroline. Great suggestion, lovelyliteratureweb! It might be a little late in the game to incorporate her work into this paper, but in the future you should definitely check her out! She’s brilliant.


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