This essay sample on She Rose To His Requirement provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
For the past few decades the goal of feminism has been to achieve equal rights for women. It began with the efforts of Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who laid the frame for the Women’s Suffrage Movement and later movements to come. They set out to clear the board of patriarchal domination. Since women were not permitted to attend the World Anti-Slavery convention, Mott and Stanton organized the first women’s rights convention, Seneca Falls, in 1848 (56). It is this key event, which marks the initial effort toward achieving equal rights for women.
Equal status for women was thought to be against the will of God during the nineteenth century. This accounts for the small fraction of women writers recognized during this era. Of this number, a young woman by the name of Emily Elizabeth Dickinson is considered to be the most distinguished. Emily Dickinson’s, “She Rose to His Requirements,” provides a window into the way nineteenth century culture constructed and understood concepts such as gender, marriage and sexual personae.
The majority of Dickinson’s poetry is based on death, love and eternity. Based on the context of the poem, “She Rose to His Requirements,” we will examine the cultural attitudes toward gender, marriage and sexual personae, which exist in the nineteenth century. In comparing these attitudes to those, which exist in the twenty-first century we will determine whether or not equal rights for women is truly a reality. One should take into consideration, Betty Friedan’s term, the “feminine mystique. ” This term is in reference to traditional female roles.
She Rose To His Requirement
During the nineteenth century, the role of women was rather limited and pejorative: the wife, the mother, and the home- maker. In Dickinson’s poem, “She Rose to His Requirement,” the idea of the “feminine mystique” is present. She rose to his requirement__dropt The playthings of her life To take the honorable work Of woman, and of wife (1-5) Line two of this stanza brings up an aspect of patriarchal domination. The word “playthings” may refer to the age of the female in the poem and suggests that the female is of adolescence.
Line four of this stanza supports this factor in that the poet uses woman versus wife to indicate that the young girl has not yet reached maturity. Another possible interpretation of the use of the word “playthings” is that the young woman may unwillingly be sacrificing her goals, aspirations, or dreams to play the expected role of a woman of this era. During this period in time it is very common for a female to be married at a very young age, in order to secure her family’s wealth or to strengthen her family name.
However, this poses a problem: the loss of innocence and identity due to conformity and constraint. Naomi Wolf’s, usage of the metaphorical term, “Iron Maiden Imagery,” supports the existence of this phenomenon (51). Before the term can be understood metaphorically, one must understand its initial meaning. Initially, the “Iron Maiden” was a term used to describe a type of torture or punishment inflicted upon women of mid-evil times. This torture entailed a women being enclosed in a wooden box, which was internally embedded with metal spikes.
As the box was closed, entrapping the female, the metal spikes would puncture the flesh and she would bleed to death. Metaphorically, the “Iron Maiden” describes the entrapment of a woman in her own body. Perhaps Emily Dickinson’s purpose for writing poetry such as this is to escape the constraining roles of women of the nineteenth century. Because outlets for feminine expression are few, this may be a form of passive expression in which Dickinson rebels against patriarchal domination. An example of this passive rebellion arises in stanza two.
If ought she missed in her new day, Of amplitude, or awe__ Or first prospective__ or the gold In using, wear away (6-9) Here Dickinson mocks the presence of euphoria on the young girls wedding day. By using the words amplitude, awe, and prospective, the poet applies negative connotation to what is supposed to be the happiest day in a woman’s life. This may suggest that Dickinson holds a negative view of marriage Many of Emily Dickinson’s poems are characterized by the intricate use of metaphors. She uses metaphors more literally than anyone else in major literature” (Paglia 637). An example surfaces in stanza three. It lay unmentioned__as the sea Develope pearl and weed, But only to himself__be known The fathoms they abide__ (11-14) In this stanza, “it” refers to the gold wedding ring in stanza two which, as implied by the poet, will no longer be in use later in the marriage. The sea image used by the poet is appropriate because it is in reference to the word “wear” (stanza two) which means to cause a ship to turn about with the stern facing the wind.
A “fathom” is a unit of about six feet, which is used to measure the depth of water. By using such words, Dickinson has painted a vivid picture of what the marriage will be like in the future, thus her use of literal metaphors. Because of Dickinson’s literal use of metaphors in the poem, we can accurately compare the attitudes toward gender, marriage and sexual personae, which are present in the nineteenth century to those, which are present in the twenty-first century. It appears that in the nineteenth century these attitudes were strongly governed by patriarchal domination.
The only purpose women were to serve was that of the wife and child bearer. A woman deemed out spoken was shunned and could never expect to be married if she carried herself in this manner. The irony in the poem arises in the title. The title suggests a step up while the poem itself suggests submissiveness and inferiority. The context of the poem implies that sublimation in women can only occur once she is married. In the twenty-first century, women are bound by beauty, for it has come to exist within society as a commodity, a product, which can be bought and sold.
Women are bound by the concept of beauty, for it applies mainly to physical appearance and excludes the beauty of personality and character. Liberal women are often shunned as in the nineteenth century and the idea that men are superior to women has not ceased to exist either. For example, gender discrimination is evident when taking into consideration the stipends of male and female employees who work for the same company, perform the same tasks, and answer to the same boss.
The male employee often receives a significantly higher stipend than that of the female employee. Where is the equity in this? The existence of equal rights for women may exist only in spirit, thus it can be referred to as a ghost theory. Equality between genders does not exist. It, along with the concepts of racism and miscegenation, is beyond society’s reach. Perhaps the male gender is afraid of what will transpire as a result. Gender equality is feared and remains an unseen aspect of societal development, thus the term ghost theory.