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Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London in 1759 to Edward John Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Dickson Wollstonecraft. Mary Wollstonecraft’s father, Edward John Wollstonecraft is the son of a successful silk weaver, which enables him to purchase a considerable estate for he and his family. Because Edward Wollstonecraft is a drunkard with a tyrant-like attitude, he squanders his funds, and within a span of ten years, he loses the entire estate and nearly ruins his family. Largely because of the irresponsibility of her father and the social descent of her family, Mary Wollstonecraft leaves home at the peak age of nineteen years old. Mary Wollstonecraft is determined to become an independent woman in a society that generally expected women of her class to be homebodies and obedient wives. She struggles for years to earn a living at the only two jobs acceptable for single, educated women. Always self-reliant, Mary Wollstonecraft first starts and operates a school, then works as a governess before becoming a brilliant nineteenth century writer. Even in her precarious position as as self-supporting woman, Mary Wollstonecraft remains in some conflicting senses, a child of the middle classes. Between the years 1778 and 1787, Mary Wollstonecraft virtually tries every honorable occupation open to middle-class women. In 1787, she finally sheds her dependence and moves back to London with a strong determination to become what she calls, “the first new genus, “ which is a self-supporting professional woman writer. By 1788 Mary Wollstonecraft publishes two works that epitomize the two poles that dominate her emotional struggle as a young woman. Her first work is called Mary, A Fiction, which is a novel of her life, and all the obstacles that she faces in order to get where she is in life. The second work that Mary Wollstonecraft does is called, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, which is a collection of essays that ...
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