- Why is she writing this letter? What does she want from the recipient of the letter?
Mr. Wollstonecraft wants M. Talleyrand-Périgord to understand the fact the wrapping logic postulates only around men’s convenience but warping it when it is in collinear with the interests of women but an obstacle for men – is counterproductive and destructive for society. She addresses why social freedom for women is important and inevitable and why the masters (a definition for men for an argument) don’t pursue the best interest as men. Mary also wants the ex-Bishop to give another round of thinking to his morals and previous sayings; she hopes that through the process of iteration, the question of women’s rights in France can be approached from another angle.
- After reading this letter, how would you identify the DC that Wollstonecraft is a part of? Does the recipient appear to be a part of this DC or outside of it?
For the letter, Mary has identified her as merely a human, citizen of France, woman, the woman of France (this is an important qualification), and a female. Her emphasis was primarily on gender. In my opinion, the discourse community can be called as “Rightless women with corrupted morality because of historical prescriptions”. Here, the word prescription matches the definition from the reading’s glossary.
Mary belonged to this community as she belongs to women of those times, but with the only exclusion – she had the power to resist against the ubiquitous fall of morals, which could be the following – pursuing the pleasure of voluptuary, lust, infidelity.
- Writing strategies.
In the 4th paragraph, Mrs. Wollstonecraft educates the former bishop: “Manners and morals are so closely related that they have often been confused with one another; but although manners should be only the natural reflection of morals when various causes have produced unnatural and corrupt manners that infect even the young, morality becomes an empty name. Personal restraint and respect for cleanliness and delicacy in domestic life are the graceful pillars of modesty, but French women almost despise them.”
To describe the whole point of her work, Mary started from very far but at a swift tempo. Then in the following paragraph, she briefly concludes with a single sentence that the acknowledged image of women in France contradicts morality principles.
That is a defeatless tactic – to speak on the language of your vis a vis. A Bishop is supposed to be a very educated man, and one of his strengths is Christianity and its interpretation. So, Mary uses clauses to convey her thoughts that require a basic understanding of religion and morality. He might not refuse the fact that he understood what she was writing. As a result, he had to admit comprehension of her message unequivocally.
“I address you as a legislator: When men fight for their freedom, fight to be allowed to judge for themselves concerning their happiness, isn’t it inconsistent and unjust to hold women down? I know that you firmly believe you are acting in the manner most likely to promote women’s happiness; but who made man the exclusive judge ·of that· if a woman shares with him the gift of reason?”
Mrs. Wollstonecraft uses deductive reasoning (or deductive logic). This method was broadly popularized in France by Rene Descartes about 100 years before the letter was written. Not only a respected scientist and philosopher, he was also a Catholic and this fact had not been missed by the main people of the church. To deliver her open-ended question, Mary used the philosophical concept that was not in contradiction with the main dogmas of the church. Thus, she could rely on the non-heretical nature of her saying and hope that it will not bring an unwanted controversy over the idea.