Margaret Fuller Early Life Summary

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Reference Information for the Biography: Marshall, M. Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2013, 474 pages.

Selective Life Summary:
Because most of Fuller’s life was documented through the letters she exchanged with her family, lovers, and peers and the “autobiography” she wrote as a schoolgirl, there is much known about her personal life. Her life revolved around learning as her dad started her “severe though kind” education at a young age (Marshall, 2013, pg. 5). From there, Fuller was educated at Cambridge Port Private Grammar School, which taught both genders, separating them to opposite sides of the class, where she earned the “reputation of being ‘smart’” (Marshall, 2013, pg.
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When she was only nineteen, her kindness was already apparent as she cared for her one-year-old brother, as he was “assigned to her special care, ‘given’ to her then as ‘my child’” (Marshall, 2013, pg. 55). Fuller, because her mother had too many other children to care for, acted as Edward’s mother up until he “died in her arms” due to an “unknown illness” (Marshall, 2013, pg. 55). Despite the tragic death of her brother, Margaret Fuller continued to care for her family as she “renewed her vow to follow the -- her commitment to the duty, the care of her mother and siblings” (Marshall, 2013, pg. 95). Despite living in what should have been “carefree New York days”, Fuller continued to look out for her family, Lloyd, her mentally disabled younger brother, in particular. His “mental disability had...prevented him from learning a trade or settling into a stable living arrangement”, but Fuller continued to find him “situations”-- places to room and work, “expecting to locate that “sound spot” in her brother’s troubled nature (Marshall, 2013, pg. 246). Margaret Fuller did not look down on anyone. When she spoke to women prisoners, she “spoke to them not as to criminals, but friends” assuring them that “they were not ‘fallen’ women” (Marshall, 2013, pg. 244). Though this may seem like a peculiar thing to be considered caring, this illustrates the respect the kindness she displayed to those who were often looked down upon for their criminally charged offenses of prostitution. Fuller in her feminist movement was bold and defiant, but still remained caring at
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