Samuel Johnson's Resistance Against Popular Culture Essay

Samuel Johnson's Resistance Against Popular Culture Essay

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Samuel Johnson is revered and considered one of the greatest writers of the eighteenth century. However, when it comes to him as a person many times he is regarded as a being disrespectful, unfair or rude. However, there were many instances in his life where he was quite the opposite and was anything but. Yet, he was still perceived as being pompous or negatively because he was going against, what was the popular “accepted” culture of the time. There are two situations in particular where he took an unpopular stance on issues, those issues were: women’s rights and slavery. In both cases Johnson separated himself from what was commonly accepted and asserted his own opinions and views based on his beliefs. Further, by comparing Johnson to contemporaries (Boswell and others) on the issue of slavery and women’s rights it becomes clearer the ways in which Johnson was resisting popular culture.
The place of women in the 18th century in Britain was similar to the place of women in early United States history, there weren’t given many rights or considered capable of having many rights. The social climate in regards to women in the 18th century was similar to slavery. Many didn’t think there was a problem in the way women were treated because, they too were not seen as equals to white males. Therefore, it is commonly considered that during the 18th century women’s rights were in a way stagnant. The cultural beliefs and practices of the British were what prevented many women from moving ahead or being seen as equals to men. In Britain during the eighteenth century women had few rights and barely any value as citizens. There were no educational opportunities available to them. “Powerful men opposed the education of women beyond reading a...


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...nson writes, “slavery is now no where more patiently endured than in countries once inhabited by the zealots of liberty.”
When it came to standing up for his beliefs, Johnson stood up for them and Johnson remained different from the majority of people, and that added to more to his character than anything. There was more to Johnson than his writing, his moral and ethical values adds to him as an individual. His ability to not only have strong convictions but stand up for them shows his unwavering character. In times of opposition, whether it came to women’s rights or slavery, he fought those issues on a moral and ethical level. The fact that he was able to persevere and maintain his “legitimacy” in spite of his “radical” opinion shows the extent to which he was good at what he does and respected for his opinion even if he wasn’t always “accepted” for his opinion.

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