Author Archives: Hannah Bentivegna

In Text Reading Connections

This week’s reading of Harriet Martineau’s Society in America really fascinated me as I was interested to hear about the roles of women or lack there of in society. I really like how Martineau started out by referencing the Declaration of Independence (which was written and signed by men alone) and how despite women being a part of society, they had no say in government. She also states the irony in the fact that the government has the “power to tax women who hold property; to divorce them from their husbands; to fine, imprison, and execute them for certain offenses” and yet women had no say and gave no consent in these laws being created. The government, after all, is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. 

While I was reading Society in America by Harriet Martineau I quickly made a connection to what Thomas Carlyle talks about in both Past and Present and Sartor Resartus. He talks about the many differences in society as it relates to social class and how people are treated. I think this is important because Carlyle essentially explains that a “good” government heavily relies on the people in which are being governed. The people in society have an impact on what type of government they will be governed by. In relation to Martineau’s Society in America, it’s important to realize that all people make up a society, not just men but women too. And governments are put in place to govern over all its people to the best of their ability, taking into consideration the feelings of all its citizens. It’s amazing to see how far we have come since this time and how many obstacles women had to go through in order to finally have their voices heard. 

What I hope to learn about Victorian Literature this semester

My past experiences with Victorian Literature are almost non existent although I am happy to say that after this semester that will all change. When first reading the description of this course I was most interested in learning about how language changes over time, specifically how English changed from Old English to Early Modern. In addition, I’m also excited to learn about the different cultural events around which certain literature was written. Even in texts that are not Victorian, I’ve always enjoyed reading works of literature that were written during a significant time in history and seeing how the author incorporated some of the elements that were actually going on in society in the book. I think this course will help me develop a deeper appreciation for Victorian Literature which will ultimately help me become a more well rounded and knowledgable English teacher one day.