Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Racing Avoidance 101, aka, Brit Lit 243

In my attempt to distance myself from the race that's looming over my head I have thrown myself into my school work today.  No, it's not really working that well, because all I can think about is T's post that was about worrying, "Am I running too much?  Am I running enough?".  Have I trained enough to best my time, to attain my goal, to yada yada yada...  So, in a weak attempt at a diversion, I started reading an excerpt from Some Reflections upon Marriage, written by Mary Astell.  OK, first off, I never thought I would say this about my "stupid British lit class" but, WOW.  What a brilliant excerpt, first off because it's so cleverly written and easy to understand (bonus points for being in English), but also because it is so far ahead of it's time.  Consider Astell's statement about sex...

"...if a wife's case be as it is here represented, it is not good for a woman to marry, and so there's an end of human race.  But this is no fair consequence, for all that can justly be inferred from hence is that a woman has no mighty obligations to the man who makes love to her; she has no reason to be fond of being a wife, or to reckon it a piece of preferment when she is taken to be a man's upper-servant; it is no advantage to her in this world..."

Or, what she so cleverly points out about marriage in general, from the beginning, "A woman can't properly be said to choose; all that is allowed her, is to refuse or accept what is offered." to the merits of education, "a philosophical lady... would be too wise and too good for the men."  Finally, on getting married in general, "for perhaps if (women) took time to consider and reflect upon it, they seldom would."

The final gist of her entire statement about marriage is that in order to be happy in life, we (women) should look for happiness within or with God.  Now, I'm not here to suggest that we "look to God" to find happiness.  As I'm fond of saying, God's messages are sometimes hard to hear and understand, even by the most devout.  But, I think what the message is that you won't find happiness with money, beauty, wit or men unless you find it with yourself first.  

Ok.  Did I mention this was written in 1700?  Thankfully THIS is the fodder for one of the three papers due by Friday.  The other reading du jour, The Book of Margery Kempe, was eerie, disturbing, and... generally shocking.  I was so stunned when I read it, that I don't even want to dwell on it long enough to write a mandatory paper, much less discuss it on my blog.  

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Ok, I know it's been awhile since I've been in school and I was a social work major but I'm glad you understood what she saying. It only took me 4 times reading it and I still think I might to look up some words. Better you than me is all I can say!!