The End Of The Eighteenth Century Essay

The End Of The Eighteenth Century Essay

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The end of the eighteenth century in England is a time of growing unrest at the coming revolution, but also of philosophers, writers, and theories. One of these writer/philosophers was Hannah More, eighteenth-century playwright and poet. More dabbled in many fields throughout her life, she also visited France during the Revolution, producing poetry and essays regarding France and its players of the Revolution that are still read today. Regardless, one of her more recognized contributions to English Literature is her poem regarding sensibility: “Sensibility: A Poetic Epistle to the Hon. Mrs. Boscawen” (Hannah More), in which she praises the attribute and those of her friends who possess it. While the attribute described in the poem may have always existed in the minds of men, More was the first to memorably put it to words. Consequently, the creation and definition of this term has become integral to a full understanding of poetry. Without noticing, poets like Wordsworth subconsciously use More’s ideas to add depth to their own works. Specifically, by first analyzing More’s “Sensibility”, then applying the relevant themes to Wordsworth’s “the Discharged Soldier”, I will prove that More offers Wordsworth’s poem a deeper meaning, expands on his juxtaposition of sound and silence and proves that the narrator is portraying false sensibility by helping the soldier.
Firstly, it is important to note that Hannah more, during the Eighteenth Century was a prominent member of the Blue Stocking Society, an early feminist group in England made up of higher middle class ladies, including Mary Wollstonecraft. The “blue stockings” “denoted a person who attended the literary assemblies held (circa1750) by three London society ladies” (Oxford Engli...

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...age is asleep, the narrator offers the help of a local labourer instead of his own, but offers charitably to accompany the man there. The reader knows that the narrator must live nearby, since he was walking presumably in his own neighbourhood, but instead presents the convenient labourer, so he can still help the soldier and feel a sense of pride without inconveniencing himself too much. Also, it is interesting that the narrator upon seeing the soldier noted he had “no attendant, neither dog, nor staff” (WW 60), but that an item of some kind “would have made him more akin to man” (WW 65). Now that the two move on their way, the soldier “took up an oaken staff by [the narrator] yet unobserved” (WW 115-116), it brings to question whether or not the narrator would have stopped to help if he had thought the soldier more human, and more capable of taking care of himself.

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