Analysis Of James Fordyce's Sermons To Young Women

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which citizens under law are as free as in the state of nature. However, within the household, he held, the man must rule and the woman must submit to this rule. Rousseau also maintained that women must be trained from the beginning to ‘serve’ and to ‘submit’ to men. Since the essence or spirit of being fully human was for Rousseau being free from submission to the will of another, women were to be denied the essential condition for being fully human. Rousseau felt that if women were accorded equality with men in the household which was the only domain open to them, it would bring about the dissolution of society. These are just a few illustrations of the andocentric thinking of Rousseau who is upheld as one of the founding fathers of conventional social science theory. For Rousseau women are closer to nature than men. Women are caught up in their biology because of their attachment to the family they are both the source of devoted inspiration and…show more content…
Apparently inspired by an ‘unfeigned regard for the Female Sex; and a fervent zeal for the best interests of society’, the Sermons outlines, at considerable length, a feminine ideal which, in established conduct book tradition, promises to get better the female character and thereby repair the nation’s moral fabric. Unlike other conduct manual writers, however, Fordyce disregarded the form of the familiar letter and instead turned to the heart-felt sentiments and grand theatrical flourishes characteristic of the eighteenth-century sermon. In addition to its more noble aspirations, the Sermons constituted an intriguing common and literary experiment designed to satisfy the author’s ‘secret desire … of trying whether that style of preaching, which to him appears, on the whole, adapted to an auditory above the vulgar rank, might succeed on a subject of this
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