“a Lady’s Dressing Room” and Montagu’s Response Essay

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A. Rose Miller Period 5 11/21/2012 Lady’s Dressing Room Essay “A Lady’s Dressing Room” and Montagu’s Response The poem, “A Lady’s Dressing Room” is of a crude sort of off-color humor. I find it repulsive, in-your-face, and indecent. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s response was certainly understandable. The many insults she wrote toward men were justified considering what Jonathan Swift had wrote about women. However, it highlights one idea that few care to acknowledge: we are all human, we all eat, excrete, bathe, and so on. As said before, women are not “fantastic creatures”(289) that are above such things as hygiene. Simply, be glad that we don’t live in the 18th century, for we have a much cleaner atmosphere at this time, particularly because we have plumbing, efficient waste removal systems, and a society where bathing is expected to be daily, rather than yearly. The sooner people accept that we are all human, the better. Moving on, the author’s style was unusual, criticizing, and degrading, and the tone was less than likeable. However, it was a direct approach to displaying human faults and how people turn the other way rather than acknowledge them. Lady Montagu, clearly took offense to Swift’s poem and so, wrote her own riposte to put him down for writing such an unflattering poem. She certainly did not “pass in silence without matching wits”(292) with Swift. She gives him a taste of his own medicine. While Montagu’s retort was humorous and insulting, she seemed to miss the point that Swift was trying to portray. She merely counterattacked him for writing such a disgraceful poem. It went right over her head that Swift was trying to say that everyone has at least a few less-than-winsome qualities or that the reason he used a female character was only to emphasize this fact, to show that, while men may put women on pedestals, that does not
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