The Emigrants By Charlotte Smith Summary

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Helen Maria Williams, Charlotte Smith and the French Revolution Women of the 18th century were writing novels, lyric poetry and conduct books, but after the fall of the Bastille in 1789, political concerns appeared in their writing. They entered male dominating territory as historical writing was traditionally a male preserve (Walker, 2011, p. 145). In the 1790s a ‘Women’s War’ developed as women writers explored new genres in which they expressed their opinions on events in France, which their male contemporaries already were doing (ibid.). Helen Maria Williams and Charlotte Smith were two of the most important women writers of the period. They saw the French Revolution through women’s eyes and put their understanding of it in writing. This …show more content…
4-5). Being this obvious about one republican beliefs was rather dangerous in Britain after the September massacres and the abolition of the monarchy (ibid.). Just as many of her contemporary women poets, feminism was apparent in all her work, also “The Emigrants”. The poem was inspired by the French Revolution and it expressed sympathy for the refugees who tried to escape the events in France. In this poem, her sensibility is clear, as it is full of values of compassion and anti-violence. She offers sympathy to the monarch, Louis XVI, “whose only crime was being born a monarch” (Smith, 1793). She shows understanding for how the monarchy was and that it was an institution of tradition and that it was expected from many levels that the king and queen were to be and do what they were doing. But they were still humans, persons, who did not deserve to be treated so brutally just because they were doing what they were born to do. She starts off the poem by being nostalgic about looking over the beautiful landscapes of her home country, but now the view does not make her happy anymore. She associates the landscape with the people of the country who have been hostile in the situation of French refugees and been reluctant to welcome them and help them. In the introduction of the poems she has feminised her form of writing by romanticising it. She is reminiscing about times with less sorrow, and nature is a big part of her memories. Time and nature are two characteristics of Romanticism within literature. She also feminises the subjects of her writing. She has personified “Mercy”, “Fiend of the Discord” and “Liberty”, and refers to these using the feminine pronoun. By giving these concepts the feminine pronoun, she emphasises the presence and importance of women in the French Revolution. She also provides a domesticating approach to her

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