Connections: Week of 9/9

As we discussed today in class, Martineau’s position on the “acquiescence” of women in Victorian society was that this acquiescence only observed because women of her time are essentially brainwashed into accepting their supposed inferiority at a young age. One thing I wanted to try to connect this to is Carlyle’s take on the “poor Black Woman”. Carlyle takes great pains to emphasize the generosity of this woman, who, out of the kindness of her heart, fed and sang to a sick white man. I can’t help but wonder if Martineau would find these acts of kindness and generosity to also be a sort of acquiescence. Would she say that the instinct to pity and help this white man was borne out of the same brainwashing and ignorance to oppression that she believes the women of her social class to have adopted? If not, what makes this situation so different?

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