Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point and A Castaway

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point and A Castaway

Length: 1644 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point" and "A Castaway"



In the early Victorian period, a number of poems were composed which served to highlight a specific troubled spot in society. The poets often wrote for human rights groups and the like in order to convey a message to those members of society who could make a difference, namely, the educated white men. Among these poems is Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point.” This piece deals with a female slave who has killed her newborn son and fled to Pilgrim’s Point, where she speaks of her feelings leading up to the present moment. Another poem, which can be placed in comparison to Browning’s, is Augusta Webster’s “A Castaway,” a dramatic monologue of a prostitute who struggles to justify her lifestyle both to herself and to her reader. In each of these works, the female speaker has acted in a morally questionable manner that initially appears condemnable. However, the issue is not clearly defined; many questions arise as to the motives behind and the circumstances surrounding each woman’s behavior. Do the choices made assert the freedom of each woman? That is to say, is the woman to be held entirely accountable for her actions based on the idea that she has freely chosen to carry them out? Upon careful reading of the two poems in question, the answer becomes much clearer. The choices made by the castaway and the runaway slave are in reality not the uninhibited decisions they at first appear. Restricted on all sides by their respective society’s powerful men, each woman faces very limited options. In each of the poems, the idea of choice (and subsequently, the question of its validity) emerges in the areas of materna...


... middle of paper ...


...both “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and “A Castaway,” the women make choices based on only a few limited options, which can be seen in their approaches to maternity, God, and freedom. Generally speaking, each woman is held accountable for her actions, but the issues have actually stemmed from larger scale problems. Even the castaway, a white woman, has no real freedom in deciding how to live her life. She chooses prostitution out of a need to support herself while still maintaining individuality. As for the runaway slave, she has run away seeking freedom, but finds none and will be killed for her insolence. Many of the factors leading to each woman’s decisions are based on the outside influences of her world. Therefore, neither woman can be entirely blamed for the bad choices she has made; she could not choose better because a better choice does not exist.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on How Do I Love Thee, By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

- Well known for one of her most famous poem How Do I Love Thee, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was a respected poet long before her marriage to Robert Browning. It seems that her memory is known for this poem written about her husband. The quiet romance that happened between the two is what seems to pull readers in, as well as Mrs. Browning 's life. From a life threatening sickness to a famous poet and a love filled marriage, Elizabeth Barrett Browning had a life that people would want to know about for centuries....   [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning]

Powerful Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

Racial Issues in The Runaway Slave and Life of a Slave Girl Essay

- Racial Issues in The Runaway Slave and Life of a Slave Girl If you prick us, do we not bleed. -- Shylock, The Merchant of Venice Like Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the black slave women are dehumanized by the other characters in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point” and Harriet A. Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself. Sexually harassed by their white masters, these slave women are forbidden to express the human emotion of love....   [tags: Incidents Life Slave Girl]

Powerful Essays
2462 words (7 pages)

Essay about Voices of the Oppressed: Browning and Browning

- Introduced by the Duke of Ferrara, the late duchess herself is denied the chance to present herself to the agent herself. However she cannot do this since she has passed away, for reasons unknown to the agent. The late duchess’s voice is silent now forever. The runaway slave is also silenced. There is no say in whether or not she was allowed to be with the man she loves, nor does she have a say in the matter about her rape, or giving birth to a lighter skinned baby. Neither have a choice with the ways men dictate their lives and suffer as a result of it, but their voices resist the oppression forced down upon them....   [tags: Runaway Slave, Pilgrims Point, Slavery]

Powerful Essays
909 words (2.6 pages)

The Runaway Pilgrim Point essay

- In the poem, The Runaway Slave at Pilgrims Point by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Browning based the poem on past experience due to the fact her family had owned slaves in Jamaica for several generations. Once these slaves were set free in 1833; sixteen years later abolitionist repudiated the “ unjust- power of the white slave owners.” ( Stephenson, 43). With Browning rejection of her once slave owning father’s irrational authority to refuse his children to marry and leave home, this poem empowered the rage she had suppressed by years....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
522 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Victorian Poet: Elizabeth Browning

- Research paper on Elizabeth Barrett Brownings It is said that Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era. She is my inspired Juliet. She was known throughout Britain and the United States for her poetry. She wrote many poems that were based on expressing her undeniable heart and soul to special individuals in her life yet can also be looked at as a religious theme. Browning’s love sonnets were inspired form figures from those of William Wordsworth, Mary R....   [tags: Poetry, Biography, Art]

Powerful Essays
1454 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Rhetorical Analysis Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, married to poet Robert Browning, was a very prominent poet during the Victorian Era. Although she has written countless love poems, she had “established herself as a woman who was never afraid to express her views on contemporary social and political issues, a position which often marked her out as unconventional and combative” (Avery). Her fearless attitude poured through her poems, and as a result she influences people across the world, most famously Emily Dickinson, who idolized Browning and her achievements (“Elizabeth Barrett Browning”)....   [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning]

Powerful Essays
1123 words (3.2 pages)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning And William Shakespeare Essay

- For centuries, individuals have had the urge to communicate their feelings, thoughts, and passions, whether it be in the form of speech, writing, or drawing. These are only a few of many types of manners that the human kind have appropriated to represent secretive passions for something. Although their forms of expression are countless, writing is one of them in which individuals encounter tend to find comfort to communicate profound words. Poetry is a writing device that helps the person to share a clarification of a feeling by using complexity in its words based on the individual 's views....   [tags: Poetry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet]

Powerful Essays
782 words (2.2 pages)

Analysis Of ' Sonnet Xliii ' By Elizabeth Barrett Browning Essay

- Ungraspable and Unimaginable: A Critical Analysis of Visual Imagery in Browning 's "Sonnet XLIII" Elizabeth Barrett Browning 's "Sonnet XLIII" speaks of her love for her husband, Richard Browning, with rich and deeply insightful comparisons to many different intangible forms. These forms—from the soul to the afterlife—intensify the extent of her love, and because of this, upon first reading the sonnet, it is easy to be impressed and utterly overwhelmed by the descriptors of her love. However, when looking past this first reading, the sonnet is in fact quite ungraspable for readers, such as myself, who have not experienced what Browning has for her husband....   [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Love, Immortality]

Powerful Essays
784 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Elizabeth Barrett Browning 's Sonnet 32

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnet 32” from Sonnets from the Portuguese is a reflection of the speaker’s relationship with her suitor, and how she expresses her doubt at the abruptness of the courtship, along with her worthiness for such affection. Through the progression of the poem the speaker portrays apprehension at the swift manner of their infatuation and skepticism over her significance towards her admirer, revealing the speaker’s remorseful undertone of dubious thoughts towards her relationship....   [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning]

Powerful Essays
994 words (2.8 pages)

How Do I Love Thee By Elizabeth Barrett Browning Essay

- “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: An Analysis Poetry has been used for centuries as a medium for expressions of love. From romantic to familial love, there is a poem for it, describing its nature. These poems typically also convey clear or implicit ideologies relating to gender and gender construction. Sonnet 43 or “How do I Love Thee?” is arguably one of the greatest love poems of all time. Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1850, it can only be described, as an outright expression of romantic love, of which is unusual for females in Victorian England....   [tags: Poetry, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet]

Powerful Essays
1107 words (3.2 pages)