Although it was not published during her time, the strong voice of feminism was sure to carry over to the women after her. In the Eighteenth Century, women had hardly begun any sort of strive for their rights. Finch explains why they should in her poem, and why they haven’t already. Finch states in the first two lines of the poem why she could not publish any of her poetry. If she were to share her work, it would either be criticized by the public as “attained, dull and untaught” or ignored altogether.
All because it was “by a woman writ”, which I find to be the most powerful line in the poem. Due to someone’s gender alone, their words could be entirely invalidated. Today, that notion seems ridiculous (well, to most people).
The fact that her poems were found after she passed shows that just because women were not published at the time, does not mean they weren’t writing. Finch utilized several literary devices in her poem. The second half of the poem is full of Allusion, where Finch references stories and figures from the Bible. That saul upon the vast applause does frown, And feels its mighty thunder shake the crown, What can the threatened judgement now prolong? Half the kingdom is already gone” (Line 39) King Saul felt threatened by David after he returned home from conquering Goliath. When he returned “a bright chorus meets” to greet him home, and Saul immediately wants him killed. Saul never succeeds and eventually David becomes king. Women sang in the streets, they were merely objects to greet the men home from war and fluff them upon their arrival.
Fran Dorn, the host of our video, is an intellectual person who holds a special appreciation for all forms of literature. She graduated with a master's degree in theatre from a New York school and is now an actress who enjoys reading in her spare time. Fran views each work of literature as a gift. She states that literature is very hard to define and that although each reader must find his or her ...
Finch’s voice is very similar to Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath. Both are women who feel entitled to their actions, despite what men (or other women, who do not feel so privileged) would ‘judge them as’. The Wife of Bath gave Biblical examples to back up her beliefs, just as Finch does. During that time, Biblical reasoning and examples from the holy text would be crucially important in any argument. Especially since the Bible was most likely used as reasoning for why women should be nearly subservient to men.
In line 21 she states, “Nor are we told fables of women that excelled of old” Women were kept in the dark of their “capabilities”. They were not to “read, to think, or to enquire” as it would “cloud our beauty, and exhaust our time” And doing so would guarantee that they would not find a man, which is practically equivalent to being unsuccessful and dying alone. “And to be dull, expected and designed” (Line 54) further iterates that point. Finch practically states that the women were man’s creation to be moulded into whatever he so desired her to be, or “expected” her to be.
However, she saw more in women than that. In line 19 she says that there could be more to a woman’s existence than being a housewife, and a thoughtless, robotic pair of gonads to their husband. Thought was theirs! Art and Knowledge was theirs! Finch is begging them to embrace it! If women were to break from man’s manipulation of them they would amount to more than “good breeding, fashion, dancing, dressing, and play” (line 14) and what could men do about it?! In the end, they need women after all.
However, Finch realized this was all but a pipe dream, so she kept the poem to herself, perhaps sharing it with a few close (female) friends. And what may have been the first voice of feminism was lost for the time being. The fight for women rights were not gone forever, in the following centuries more and more women and women writers began to yearn for more. Anne Finch’s poetry was not always hidden, and after her death became relevant in her successors arguments.