Advice To Young Ladies Poem

728 Words 3 Pages
Women are often either left out of history books or are shown a strong disapproval from society for nothing more than being true to themselves. A.D. Hope’s “Advice to Young Ladies’ draws attention to an example of the latter. This poem introduces the history of women’s subjugation, one of the modes that subjugation takes, and suggests to society that this mass enslavement of women is not in its best interest.
Hope opens this poem with the trial of “Postumia” of ancient Rome (line 3). According to Livy’s “records” Postumia was a “vestal virgin” who was tried for “a sexual misdemeanor” (4, 3, 2). “Vestal virgins” were priestesses of Vesta, according to the New World Encyclopedia, and were expected to stay virgins for at least thirty years at
…show more content…
While all of these women paid a price for stepping out of their place, Hope spends a great deal of time and detail on the “advice” that is given to Postumia. “The Pontifex Maximus” tells Postumia that she should not be so smart or funny and she should dress less fashionably (9). This is the “advice” that the title of this poem is referring to. This is the same advice that women have been given throughout history even through today by “Pagans or Christians”, or society as a whole, as evident by all the school dress codes that are designed to keep girls’ bodies from “distracting boys” (31, Zhou). Hope also asks the question how many women have succumb to this advice. He speaks of living up to this advice as being “buried” “alive” (20). He also ponders how many women have been forgotten by history because they gave into the pressure placed on them to live and be submissive in any way possible. These are all questions that we cannot know the answers to because history doesn’t even attempt to record the …show more content…
The hopefulness of this poem comes with the advice Hope has for society in return. His advice comes in the form of questions. He questions the reasons why some societies have fallen, and if the reasons that are most accepted are missing something more subtle. He asks how society can expect “free men” to be brought about by “the servile womb” (48). By asking these questions he is suggesting that allowing women to simply be themselves, to be outspoken and as smart as they are, could save our human society from the downfall that so many others have faced.
As Xavier Pons points out in his essay, “Hope is a staunch defender of the rights of woman” (373). Hope expresses his distaste at the treatment of women in this poem not only by drawing attention to the history of the mistreatment of women but by asking society to rethink this treatment. Hope perceives as true that human communities will continue to fall as long as they continue to subjugate half of their

Related Documents

Related Topics