Francis Harper A Double Standard Analysis

780 Words 4 Pages
Francis Harper was mid-18th century speaker, poet, and political activist. Harper was deeply involved in the movements of abolition of slavery, establishing women’s rights, and creating civil rights. She was born in Maryland where she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Harper’s uncle saw to it that she received a great pro-abolition education, and this education laid the foundation for Harper’s preeminent cognitive reasoning. Harper’s home was a primary stop for slaves escaping to Canada by means of the Underground Railroad. She is regarded as the first African American to have a short story published; however, as Dr. Derrick Spires suggests, “Harper was primarily known for her poems during that time.” In fact, due to her poetic popularity, …show more content…
She was a prevailing voice in the times of great sorrow for African American people, and even more so in the suffragist movement. So, the question raised by Dr. Spires and the poem “A Double Standard” is, Did Francis Harper insist on women in society becoming blame free, or was she trying to illustrate how the blame should be shared? At first glance, Harper appears to be attempting to place all blame on the men in society. In Harper’s poem she poses a question from the very beginning. She asks, “Do you blame me that I loved him?” (line 1). In this question Harper is essentially asking society how could you ever blame a woman for divulging herself into the life of a man who she perceives as loving her. Harper utilizes a strong ethical appeal here by trying to convince society that women are not to blame when a man deviates from customary …show more content…
Harper states, “That I who fell, and he who sinned, shall reap as we have sown” (lines 49-50). This sentence exemplifies Harper’s true motives for this poem. It illustrates how Harper does not see the man as the sole bearer of shame, but that both man and woman should share the blame since the are coconspirators. Harpers uses the word “we” to show that both man and woman caused this event, and that they are both responsible for the outcome. Harper then says, “That each the burden of his loss must bear and bear alone” (lines 51-52) This statement shows that Harper knows women need to bear some shame, but men also need to bear their part of the shame as well. Harper is showing that neither man nor woman should be seen as the person primarily responsible for what has happened, but they should be seen as equally

Related Documents