Anna Barbauld’s Poem

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Jesse Smith Close Reading Anna Barbauld’s poem, “The Rights of Woman,” has a controversial debate, describing how women should take over and rule the world. Baurbauld was a poet, a freethinker but she wasn’t considered a feminist. In the poem, Barbauld acknowledges, “But hope not, courted idol of mankind, on this proud eminence secure to stay”(25). Meaning she’s advising women to stand up and play a higher role than men. But in reality she is scared to voice her true goal of the passage. Barbauld does not want to take all of the heat in the poem, like most writers on feminist. Anna doesn’t do a good job on her beliefs persuading women to fight for their rights. “Subduing and subdued; thou soon shalt find”(27). She contradicted herself that eventually where there’s a win, there is a lost. That women can’t manage to stay on top above men. Maybe she was aware that there could have been consequences if she had left the last couple stanzas out. “Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought, Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move”(29). She reverts back to what she was preaching. Instead of going into battle, she tells women that there’s nothing up there. Which “secure to stay” stems from in the passage (26). Anna feels like there’s no consistency once women have the power to overthrown men. Even though she thinks it’s unfair she hesitates and recognizes that men and women should have equal rights. Since most writers in the 18th century were men, society looked at women writers more on the negative side or didn’t take women serious. Between 1700s and 1800s, Anna wanted femininity. Considering women writers didn’t have much freedom with their own creativity. She says, “thou mayest command, but never canst be free”(20). The speaker also attests the woman can have a better education than being domesticated at home. She wanted
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