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Women's Rights by Annie Louisa Walker Analysis

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Mariem Yousef

on 3 May 2016

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Transcript of Women's Rights by Annie Louisa Walker Analysis

1 You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish,
2 Nor turn our thoughts away
3 From the bright picture of a "Woman's Mission"
4 Our hearts portray

5 We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion,
6 Beneath the household roof, --
7 From the great world's harsh strife, and jarring voices,
8 To stand aloof,--

9 Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction
10 To sleep our life away,
11 But, gathering up the brightness of the home sunshine,
12 To deck our way.

13 As humble plants by country hedgerows growing,
14 That treasure up the rain,
15 And yield in odours, ere the day's declining,
16 The gift again;

17 So let us, unobtrusive and unnoticed,
18 But happy none the less,
19 Be privileged to fill the air around us
20 With happiness;

21 To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle,
22 Which we can bless and aid;
23 To die, and not a heart that does not love us
24 Know where we're laid.
Themes and Ideas about the Poem
The context of the poem is defining women rights within a limited sphere of influence. Women can and have been robbed of their lives and are being made as housewives under the advantages of their husbands or any other male factor in the household. Moreover, this poem states that women, although treated unequal had all their reasons to keep their happiness (stanza 5)
About Annie Louisa Walker
Annie Louisa Walker was born in Straffordshire, England on June 23rd 1836. In 1853, the family moved to Canada due to her father's work. She attended a private girl's school with her sisters Frances and Isabella in 1858. Annie Louisa Walker grew up to be an author and a teacher. She published many poems in newspapers and periodicals including an anonymous collection entitled
Leaves from the Backwoods
in 1861. In addition, she authored 5 novels and edited one autobiography before her death on July 7 1907
Analysis
Women's Rights by Annie Louisa Walker
In the 19th century in Canada, women and men were expected to fill separate spheres of society. Men were expected to live a public life while women on the other hand were usually expected to live their lives largely home bound, taking care of cooking, cleaning and child rearing. This could also be reflected off the poem in stanza 2. Moreover, women were shut out of political activity and did not have the same opportunities for education as men. Though expectations to the rule did exist, women in general were entirely shut out of the public sphere of the 19th century society. This is what Annie Louisa Walker is trying to convey through her poem. It is the rights of women to live in descent, equal, modest and respectful abode.
You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish,
Nor turn our thoughts away
From the bright picture of a "Woman's Mission"
Our hearts portray
Stanza 1:
Stanza 2:
We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion,
Beneath the household roof, --
From the great world's harsh strife, and jarring voices,
To stand aloof,--
Stanza 3
Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction
To sleep our life away,
But, gathering up the brightness of the home sunshine,
To deck our way.
Stanza 4:
Stanza 5:
Stanza 6:
As humble plants by country hedgerows growing,
That treasure up the rain,
And yield in odours, ere the day's declining,
The gift again;
So let us, unobtrusive an unnoticed,
But happy none the less,
Be privileged to fill the air around us
With happiness;
To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle,
Which we can bless and aid;
To die, and not a heart that does not love us
Know where we're laid.
Questions
1) What are the lifestyles that the women presented in this poem share? How does poet define "women rights"?

2) In stanza 6, what is Annie Louisa Walker referring the cherished circle as?
1 You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish,
2 Nor turn our thoughts away
3 From the bright picture of a "Woman's Mission"
4 Our hearts portray

5 We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion,
6 Beneath the household roof, --
7 From the great world's harsh strife, and jarring voices,
8 To stand aloof,--

9 Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction
10 To sleep our life away,
11 But, gathering up the brightness of the home sunshine,
12 To deck our way.

13 As humble plants by country hedgerows growing,
14 That treasure up the rain,
15 And yield in odours, ere the day's declining,
16 The gift again;

17 So let us, unobtrusive and unnoticed,
18 But happy none the less,
19 Be privileged to fill the air around us
20 With happiness;

21 To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle,
22 Which we can bless and aid;
23 To die, and not a heart that does not love us
24 Know where we're laid.
Full transcript