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Margaret Fuller - Essay Example

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Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810 - 1850), commonly known as Margaret Fuller, has been generally regarded as one of the earliest feminists in American literature, and she was one of the major figures associated with the American Transcendentalist movement…
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Download file to see previous pages However, a reflective analysis of the works and writings of this journalist, critic and women's rights activist of the American transcendental movement confirms that she is not a feminist in the true sense. Labeling Margaret Fuller as a feminist will be a mistake and, therefore, she should not be labeled as a feminist, but as a strong American woman, a spokesperson for education, proponent for not only women's rights but rights for all mankind. One of the most significant explanations of this idea can be found in Annette Kolodny's "Inventing a Feminist Discourse: Rhetoric and Resistance in Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Ninteenth Century", where the author indicates how Margaret Fuller deviated from the general category of feminists, through her writings. "By rejecting persuasion as a tactic for feminist discourse, in effect, Fuller dispensed with those organizing principles that had come to be associated with most public advocacy in her day. As a result, despite the chronological arrangement of her 'signs of the times,' and despite Fuller's demonstrated command of formal logic and her employment of both inductive and deductive modes of reasoning, she opened herself to the charge that she was aimlessly amassing miscellaneous evidence In other words, because Fuller did not order her treatise in the conventional manner, critics dismissed the whole as the by-product of stereotypically uncontrolled female talkativeness transferred to the printed page." (Kolodny, 159-60) These criticisms, however, assume importance in the wider perspective of her writings as feminist writings and there is no real intension from the author, especially in her Woman in the Ninteenth Century, to come up with a strong voice of an ardent feminist. She is more interested in reflecting her ideas as a strong American woman, a spokesperson for education, proponent for the rights for all mankind, along with women's rights. Therefore, a profound analysis of the works and writings of Margaret Fuller confirms that she cannot be called a feminist in true essence, though she was an inspiration for women, as well as any group that has been oppressed or repressed.
One of the regular mistakes among the scholars who study the works of Margaret Fuller, especially the contemporary feminist writers, is that they often tend to associate her with feminism and consider her as one of the earliest feminists. Although she was an important figure of the New England Transcendentalist movement, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson and others, it is not completely justifiable to consider Margaret Fuller as a feminist who has contributed to the earliest movements of the feminists in American literature. Her uniquely important place in 19th century history of American literature can be realized in the background of her works and writings at a time when the role of women in her society was severely limited. Thus, she was an important champion of the rights of women in her period and upheld the importance of education for women. Through her contributions to the development of the New England Transcendentalist movement, she proved her major concerns which are for the good of the society as a whole. Fuller was the editor of The Dial, the magazine of the transcendentalists, for two years in the early 1840s and she established her ideologies concerning the plight of women as well as the society in general. The enduring eminence of this great human being should be realized in her works as a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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