In this day and age, women have liberties that are often taken for granted. Women have the freedom to choose which university they will attend (if they plan on attending college), what career they wish to pursue, and also whom their mate in marriage will be. In early American days, liberties of women were looked upon from society as being wealthy and holding high social status. Many did not have the opportunity to pursue a career, much less decide what university they preferred to attend. They were fortunate to even have the opportunity receive a higher education beyond reading! Choosing the right men for their futures ensured them the luxuries they wished to maintain. If they were not already included in "upper society," their chances of upward mobility were slim to none. If the family lost their fortune, their only salvation was to be married back into wealth, another slim to none chance. This is the reality Rebecca Rush clearly paints in Kelroy. Rush projects her judgment on early American society and the role of women and marriage. Using the creation of two main characters, Mrs. Hammond and Emily Hammond, Rush is able to project her disapproval of society's ways through their opposing views and personalities.
The opening of the novel begins with a transparency of American society. Rush quickly illustrates how "the good natured world" orchestrates. The reader is not disillusioned to the reality of the Hammond's society. A reality Mrs. Hammond herself is fully conscious of. "Still she retained an unabated relish for show and dissipation, which her knowledge of the world, on which she prided herself much, taught her could only be o...
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... They are viewed as gossips only concerned with the display of proper mannerisms and fashions. Rush is able to enlighten readers to see that even though women were allowed little liberties, they could still provide a higher level of human nature. Something that neither liberty nor education can provide. Through Mrs. Hammond, she displays the outlook of society's views on women and how many women perceived it as their only reality. Through Emily, Rush is able to challenge society in all its vanity and selfishness. Emily represents the future aspiration of women and the mark they will leave for following what they know to be true, their hearts.
Murray, Judith Sargent. "On the Equality of the Sexes." Ed. Paul Lauter.The Heath Anthology of American Literature, third edition. Volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1992. 1058-1064.
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