A Clever Woman by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
You thought I had the strength of men,
Because with men I dared to speak,
And courted science now and then,
And studied Latin for a week;
But woman's woman, even when
She reads her Ethics in the Greek.
You thought me wiser than my kind;
You thought me "more than common tall'
You thought because I had a mind,
That I could have no heart at all;
But woman's woman you will find,
Whether she be great or small.
And then you needs must die--ah, well!
I knew you not, you loved not me.
'Twas not because that darkness fell,
You saw not what there was to see.
But I that saw and could not tell-O evil Angel, set me free!
Poem of the Day: “Marriage” by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
No more alone sleeping, no more alone waking,
Thy dreams divided, thy prayers in twain;
Thy merry sisters tonight forsaking,
Never shall we see, maiden, again.
Never shall we see thee, thine eyes glancing.
Flashing with laughter and wild in glee,
Under the mistletoe kissing and dancing,
There shall come a matron walking sedately,
Low-voiced, gentle, wise in reply.
Tell me, O tell me, can I love her greatly?
All for her sake must the maiden die!
Zora Neale Hurston "Sweat"
Please respond to at least 2 other student with 5-7sentence if you agree or disagree with their
post and explain why.
Student 1 Pam
Because of the financial and social security that comes with marriage, it is often a major life goal of
women to get married. However, women are actually less well off in terms of physical, mental, and
financial health if they become married. In contrast, many men dread getting married as they think
they will be "tied down," but men, on average, are actually better off when they do. When a woman
gets marred to a man, she oftentimes shoulders more responsibility. Not only does she have to take
care of herself, now, but she also has to provide for her husband and her children. Sometimes, people
will say that marriage is fair because the man takes care of the family financially while the woman
performs the child-rearing and household duties. However, as is exemplified in "Sweat," by Zora
Neale Hurston, it often happens that both of these duties fall to the woman. If a man neglects his
duties as a husband and father, whatever they are determined to be, the woman then has to take
responsibility for raising and providing for herself and her children. Additionally, marriage oftentimes
sets women up to major vulnerabilites such as domestic abuse. In short, marriage for a woman is a
huge risk, oftentimes downgrading a woman's quality of life.
Married women today share many of the same issues as the women in the readings for this week. Even
though we supposedly live in a society where men and women are equal, a lot of the responsibility
still falls on the shoulders of the woman. Women are lucky if a man helps around the house (note that
I said help because it is often assumed to be the responsibility of the woman), and I hardly know
anyone whose boyfriends or husbands do so without being asked repeatedly. Women are expected to
"grow up" and abandon any fun they once enjoyed, while men are allowed to be themselves often until
they day they die. This sentiment is echoed in "Marriage" by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, in which she
states, "Never shall we see thee...flashing with laughter and wild in glee...wantonly free."
Although married women still are at a disadvantage to their male counterparts, there have been some
legal advances. For example, women, provided they sign a pre-nup, are allowed to control and keep
any property and assets that they previously had acquired. This is in contrast to the character Delia
Jones in "Sweat," whose husband threatens to kick her out of the house that she bought with her own
money. Delia's husband also takes the money that she earns washing clothes all week long and spends
it on drinking and buying things for his mistress. Although women have made some headway in their
rights as married women, there still exist large discrepancies between the benefits and downsides of
marriage for women and men, usually leaning in the favor of men.
Student 2.Alex V.
Of course centuries ago it was more prevalent for the husband to be educated and be the breadwinner of the
home. For many families, this meant that the wife’s main duty was housework and raising the children.
Education nor the thought of a job was on the table for wives. This was the norm, and for some today it remains
the norm. The idea of becoming a wife often comes with the expectation to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Becoming a wife promises a better life in the sense that there will be a man to provide for the family and offer
security. In the readings this week by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge and Zora Neale Hurston, we see that those
promises are often broken.
After becoming a wife, a woman’s life can be affected in multiple ways. In “Marriage,” Coleridge emphasizes
that the once lively maiden can make a complete 360 in the way she presents herself. “ Never shall we see thee,
thine eyes glancing, flashing with laughter and wild in glee, under the mistletoe kissing and dancin g, wantonly
free.” Here, we see the speaker, perhaps the sisters of the maiden, make the observation that the once high spirited maiden once married will change for the worse. “There shall come a matron walking sedately, low voiced, gentle, wise in reply.” It is highlighted that once married the woman will act in a manner not true to her
Similarly, Zora Neale Hurston characterizes a married woman as one who has lost respect from her husband and
is physically and emotionally drained. In “Sweat,” Delia would be better off not married to her husband Sykes.
“She lifted her eyes to the door and saw him standing there bent over with laughter at her fright. She screamed
at him. “Sykes, what you throw dat whip on me like dat? You know it would skeer me - looks just like a snake,
an’ you knows how skeered Ah is of snakes.” “Course Ah knowed it! That’s how come Ah done it.” He slapped
his leg with his hand and almost rolled on the ground in his mirth. “If you such a big fool dat you got to have a
fit over a earth worm or a string, Ah don’t keer how bad Ah skeer you.” It is evident that Sykes has zero respect
for Delia. After what constituted as a normal day full of abusive from her husband, Delia lay awake
remembering how her marriage was at the beginning. “She was young and soft then, but now she thought of her
knotty, muscled limbs, her harsh knuckly hands, and drew herself up into an unhappy little ball in the middle of
the big feather bed.” As a result of her torturous marriage, Delia was physically deterio rating. These are just a
couple of examples of how women can change after becoming wives.
Today, not much has changed about marriage. Of course it is possible to have a happy and healthy marriage
today and decades ago as well. But, there are also marriages that know nothing other than misery. The readings
for this week presented two varying degrees of life as a married woman. In some cases there are still probably
women who lose their liveliness as a result of marriage because they are expected to act like a civilized lady for
the sake of their husbands. Similarly, there are women all around the world physically and mentally abused by
their husbands just like Delia in Hurston’s “Sweat.”
Compared to the female characters in our readings, today women face a little bit different of marital troubles. I
think nowadays it is more acceptable for a woman to not desire to be wed. It is also more prevalent to see same
sex marriages; but that does not mean the same components in these readings do not occur. Nowadays, women
stay in marriages that no longer serve them for multiple reasons. Some are simply afraid of what will happen
after divorce while others fear for their lives. It may be because of financial security for the sake of their
children. There are still a number of women who are not financially independent and would not be able to
support their children otherwise. Sometimes there is an underlying emotional reason for accepting abusive
marriages or relationships in general. There are many more in depth reason s a married woman would stay; too
many to name. It is disheartening to think that the characters in the readings are representative of real situations.
Again, not every marriage is full of darkness, but there most definitely are cases where this type of su ffering
similar to these characters does still happen
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