In her essay On the Equality of Sexes, Judith Sargent Murray addresses the significant problem of insufficient recognition of the independent female mind. The author argues that women are considered intellectually inferior to men only culturally, which has no natural prerequisites. She argues that representatives of both sexes strive for development but have unequal opportunities for this.
Murray’s arguments fully reflect the issues that women’s rights activists address in the modern world. In particular, the author argues that, although women have characteristics that differ from men, they are not inferior to them intellectually. She says that “that minds are not alike, full well I know” (Reidhead et al. 772). However, Murray argues that both men and women have people who are eager to learn and develop.
Murray advocates that traditional women’s pursuits do not always reflect the needs and abilities of women. She emphasizes that “our souls are by nature equal to yours; the same breath of God animates, enlivens, and invigorates us” (Reidhead et al. 775). Murray argues that the restrictions placed on women make their lives miserable and prevent them from expressing themselves.
The author also advocates that the most common female occupations are due to the inability to diversify and develop them. Women could read literature and study, but because of limited access to the “fashion, scandal and sometimes what is still more reprehensible are then called in to her relief” (Reidhead et al. 774). Thus, Murray argues that women are no less developed than men but have more limited access to opportunities for self-expression.
Murray argues that the minds of women and men are equal, but women’s activities have traditionally been due to limited access to intellectual expression. They are less likely to be involved in learning and acquiring knowledge only because of unequal opportunities. Murray is confident that with easier access to education, women would not be inferior to men.
Philip Freneau was the one who discussed a variety of topics, including nature, revolution, and other Native Americans. However, his poem The Indian Burying Ground makes it possible to understand what attitude the poet had in relation to the Indians. In general, the poem makes it possible to be aware that the author believes that the culture of the Indians is developed and unique and also treats it tolerantly.
In his poem, The Indian Burying Ground, Freneau actually considers the burial rituals of the Native Americans as superior to European ones. In the first lines, the author indicates “the posture, that we give the dead, points out the soul’s eternal sleep” (Reidhead et al. 782). He further describes the rituals of the Indians that emphasize the immortality of the soul.
Freneau notes that the funeral rituals of the Indians are more natural to humans than the European ones. This aspect emphasizes that the author probably opposed the imposition of European civilization on the Indians. He does not view the rituals of the Native American people as meaningless barbarism, but rather supports their preservation.
The author emphasizes that the funeral rites of the Indians are more capable of capturing the personality than the European ones. He notes that the attributes on the grave “can only mean that life is spent, and not the old ideas gone” (Reidhead et al. 782). The author argues that Native Americans’ rituals maintain memory and continuity, while European rituals make people forget ideas.
Freneau, in his poem, discusses how the funeral rites of the Indians are more natural than those of the Europeans. He emphasizes that such a burial culture allows one to emphasize the immortality of the soul and ideas, which is important for society. This view makes it clear that Freneau values Native American culture and considers it an important part of the world.
American literary nationalism is characterized by the need for authors to create a separate genre of literature that reflects exclusively American life. John Frederick notes that a distinctive feature of this direction was the reflection of moral and religious values (238). Phillis Wheatley, in her poems, reflected the desire for the freedom of the nation, as well as the role of religion in the life of America, which gives it the features of an American literary Nationalism.
The author, in his works, reflects all the values of the American nation before the formation of the direction of literary nationalism. The main themes of Wheatley’s poetry were political and spiritual freedom, the greatness of nature, and vision and imagination (Reidhead et al. 788). In this way, Wheatley emphasizes the distinct culture and values of America as an independent nation.
Wheatley places great emphasis on the ideas of independence and freedom for the nation. In her address to Washington, which is a symphony of American independence, she wishes “all possible success in the great cause you are so generously engaged in” (Reidhead et al. 796). Thus, as a literary nationalist, she affirms the importance of the ideas of national freedom.
Wheatley, in his works, addresses the topic of religion as an integral part of life. Frederick also emphasizes that literary nationalism often refers to religion as an element of an American lifestyle (230-231). In the poem Thought on the Work of Providence, the author discusses the ubiquitous presence of God and his role in the lives of people (Reidhead et al. 792-795). This reflects that connection between the American nation and religion, as well as the primacy of Christian ideas.
Phillis Wheatley’s poems have all the traits of literary nationalism and were written before the genre was fully formed. This allows one to conclude that she was one of the first writers who influenced the development of this direction. Wheatley places great emphasis on the ideas of national independence, as well as on important moral and religious aspects.
Negotiation and Resistance
Native American representatives had to communicate with Europeans to resolve conflicts. In the appeals recorded and translated by the Europeans, you can notice the features of the Indian culture that were interpreted. These features reflect the way Europeans understood the Native American worldview and tried to adapt it for understanding.
Bi-cultural composites can be seen in Speech at Lancaster, reflecting the Indian perception of space. Canassetego notes that the colonists “came out of the Ground in a Country that lies beyond the Sea” (Reidhead et al. 987). This sentence reflects the Indians’ perception of geography associated with natural objects in combination with the political boundaries of Europeans.
Native American culture and narratives are well documented in Speech at Detroit. In this speech, Pontiac calls on the Indian tribes to unite in the fight against the British (Reidhead et al. 990). He does this in a narrative manner of myth, which illustrates the combination of the call for participation in the European war with the Native American culture features.
It is also noteworthy that in their addresses to Europeans, the Indians use the standard word Brothers. This is evident in the Cherokee woman’s address to Benjamin Franklin, as well as in Speech to the Osages by Tecumseh (Reidhead et al. 993-996). This reflects the way in which the worldview characteristics of the Indians are integrated into communication with representatives of another culture.
Certain features of the speeches and messages of NAtive Americans recorded by Europeans reflect a mixture of cultures. As the Indians sought to be understood, so the Europeans sought to adapt the words of the Native Americans. This process resulted in bi-cultural composites presented in the materials.
Frederick, John T. “American Literary Nationalism: The Process of Definition, 1825–1850.” The Review of Politics, vol. 21, no. 1, 199, pp. 224-238.
Reidhead, Julia, et al. (eds.). The Norton Anthology of American Literature (9th ed). W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.