Educating Women: Literary Analysis Essay on Judith Sargent Murray's "On the Equality of the Sexes"

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On the subject of education, Judith Sargent Murray believes that women can use their imagination entirely, but their brain has been damaged because of the society's confinement (Byam et al. 2015 p.741). Also, she affirms that everyone, regardless of their sex, is equal regarding faculty, but the difference is the education they receive after birth, which influences their abilities (p.741). As she explains, boys are taught to be ambitious and strive to achieve their goals while girls are taught domestic work. According to her, women and men are equal in regards to intellect, but different in their customs. Mary Wollstonecraft, on the other hand, articulates that both men and women have the right to liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness. Similarly, she emphasizes the fact that women have to be educated. She avows that women fail to reason because they are denied opportunities for education to develop their rational intellect. More so, Wollstonecraft calls for an education reform that will provide equal education to both men and women.

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Mary Wollstonecraft would have viewed the behavior of Miss Wellwood as ostensible. Miss Wellwood, being orphaned, blamed everything on herself (p.748). According to her, men cannot be bad naturally, and that and that there is always a validation for their behavior, early immoderation, and their method of education (p.751). Wollstonecraft believes that are women are great beings who can achieve their independence. She would have given the following reasons for her missteps in her relationship with men.

They feel like they are more superior to women.

They feel like they are more intelligent than women, so their decisions matter the most.

Social class plays a role in the outcomes of these women's lives in a way that creates a division in their society's status. Wollstonecraft, for example, defines social class by aspects such as intellect, education, and reasoning. Judith Sargent Murray on the other hand, states that there are significant differences between middle and upper-class women. The logical connection that these writers make between class and education or reputation is that every individual is equal regardless of their sex. Additionally, both authors speak of liberty. According to both, the level of intellect between men and women is equal, but the difference in their upbringing. In regards to class, both authors assert that social class holds women captive in a way that they are viewed as more inferior compared to men. The social class that seems to be the most capable of moral virtue is the middle-class women. The reason is that according to Wollstonecraft, middle-class women can attain more education, benefit from it, and utilize what they have learned in their households. Also, she asserts that these women can achieve a significant sense of financial independence and a degree of political participation.

On the equality of sexes by Judith Sargent Murray, the characteristic of the novel at this time is the femininity, reality, complex relationships, honesty, and a sense of time. Both novels discuss the captivity of women during American Revolution. Also, both novels encompass essential elements such as plot, setting, and point of view. The supposed fault of the type of writing is that they lean on one type of gender. Additionally, the merit of this kind of writing is the recognition of women in society. Both novels fall into the typical category of a novel. The two writers might have been working to change the reputation of their novels in a way that they managed to convince readers on issues of social class and the equality of both males and females.


Byam et al. The book is Norton Anthology American Literature Eight edition volume A. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2015.

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