Hannah More and William Wordsworth: Turning Tables for Meaningful Education

Hannah More and William Wordsworth: Turning Tables for Meaningful Education

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Hannah More’s “from Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education” and William Wordsworth’s “The Table’s Turned; An Evening Scene, on the Same Subject” at first glance appear unrelated; however, upon further investigation, it is clear that the two works share a common goal: to inspire their readership to embark on a meaningful educational journey. The two pieces, one traditionally persuasive, the other traditionally literary, differ in their delivery but converge in their principles. Both Wordsworth and More seek to change the culture of education in their society. By placing their pieces in conversation with one another, each author’s perspective illuminates in the other author’s piece a message only decipherable through his or her respective lens.
As her title reveals, More situates her argument around a feminist perspective. In her introduction, she condemns society for failing to provide women with a moral education. She argues that society holds women to impossibly high moral standards without providing them with the moral educational foundation necessary for success in their critical society (220). More claims that the trivial education her society provides to women only cultivates “dancers, singers, players, painters, actresses, sculptors, gilders, varnishers, engravers, and embroiderers” (221). All of these occupations condemn women to a less fulfilling and less influential existence than they are capable of living. As a result, women do not answer to their natural calling: acting as “daughters, wives, mothers, and mistresses of families” (222). Through these more familial roles, women live up to their true potential as patriots who nurture posterity, thus ensuring the future success of their country. More...

... middle of paper ...

... seeks to free women from their near-enslavement status and draw them up to fulfilling their potential as molders of society. Wordsworth and More seek to equip their readers with the hunger to pursue knowledge, thus spreading the thrills of a meaningful education and inspiring change in their society’s educational culture.

Works Cited

Menke, Richard. "Romantic Literature: Wordsworth." Park Hall, Athens. 15 Sept. 2011. Lecture.

More, Hannah. “from Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education.” British Literature,
1780-1830. By Anne Kostelanetz. Mellor and Richard E. Matlak. Fort Worth:
Harcourt Brace College, 1996. 220-23. Print.

Wordsworth, William. "The Tables Turned; An Evening Scene, on the Same Subject." British
Literature, 1780-1830. By Anne Kostelanetz. Mellor and Richard E. Matlak. Fort Worth:
Harcourt Brace College, 1996. 571. Print.

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