In both Carlye’s Sartor Resartus and Ada Lovelace’s biography, they use metaphors to express the emotions evoked by the changing society around them. In Sartor Resartus, he examines the structure of the social caste system that pervades 19th century England. He specifically looks at how the greed of the elite is damaging the overall quality of their society. In order to fix this problem, Carlyle suggests that society “change their clothes” so to speak, by altering the status quo of power in society. He did not want to simply strip away the social order, but rather re-establish a society with improved morales. By doing this, he is effectively showing how clothes can be an expression of freedom. Carlyle is shedding the old clothes of society in favor of a new perspective. We see a similar sentiment expressed by Ada Lovelace through her love for learning. She takes advantage of her opportunity to be educated as a woman by striving to attain as much knowledge as she can. Similar to Carlyle, she feels the unique ability to express herself in a society with such rigid standards. Lovelace is also changing the clothes of society by proclaiming her love for mathematics. This was a freedom that was not granted to all women at the time. She proudly exclaims, “I am now happier than ever in my life before. I have never been happy, even in the ordinary earthly sense of that term, until just lately…” This sense of hope is reminiscent of Carlyle’s optimism in a new social order that solves the injustices plaguing society.
Connections in Lit. – Carlyle and Lovelace
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