Presentation Title

The Oppression of Women and Mother Nature: An Ecofeminist Reading of Wordsworth's "The Thorn" and "The Ruined Cottage"

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Alison Baker

Start Date

18-11-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 10:15 AM

Location

15-1828

Session

Humanities 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

In Romantic poetry, poets often depict women in a way that makes them subsumed into the natural world. This is deeply established during this era since nature is seen as inherently feminine because both nature and women reproduce new life. However, this concept is challenged in William Wordsworth’s poems, “The Ruined Cottage” and “The Thorn,” where instead of displaying the beauty of Mother Nature and women, Wordsworth touches on the physical deterioration of nature in parallel to the mental deterioration of his two heroines, Margaret and Martha. The two poems present the dichotomy of women representing nature, while men are equated with civilization. The following essay examines Wordsworth’s poems through his descriptions of nature in personifying the emotional states of the two women: as civilization ruins the natural world, men can ruin women and trigger their downfall. I employ an ecofeminist reading of the two poems, showing how the relationship between women and nature is more than just one of shared beauty and motherhood; it is also one of mutual oppression.

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Nov 18th, 10:00 AM Nov 18th, 10:15 AM

The Oppression of Women and Mother Nature: An Ecofeminist Reading of Wordsworth's "The Thorn" and "The Ruined Cottage"

15-1828

In Romantic poetry, poets often depict women in a way that makes them subsumed into the natural world. This is deeply established during this era since nature is seen as inherently feminine because both nature and women reproduce new life. However, this concept is challenged in William Wordsworth’s poems, “The Ruined Cottage” and “The Thorn,” where instead of displaying the beauty of Mother Nature and women, Wordsworth touches on the physical deterioration of nature in parallel to the mental deterioration of his two heroines, Margaret and Martha. The two poems present the dichotomy of women representing nature, while men are equated with civilization. The following essay examines Wordsworth’s poems through his descriptions of nature in personifying the emotional states of the two women: as civilization ruins the natural world, men can ruin women and trigger their downfall. I employ an ecofeminist reading of the two poems, showing how the relationship between women and nature is more than just one of shared beauty and motherhood; it is also one of mutual oppression.