Elizabeth ashbridge essay

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Elizabeth ashbridge essay

Liahna Babener Classroom Issues and Strategies Most students are unfamiliar with the doctrinal differences between the Anglican and Quaker faiths, upon which Ashbridge's Account hinges.

They tend to be uncomfortable with early Quaker preaching practices, doctrinal assumptions, and social customs. This discomfort sometimes alienates students or prevents them from empathizing with Ashbridge's dilemma.

Such anxieties, however, are almost always overcome by the power and poignancy of the text itself. Providing background about religious and doctrinal tensions in the Great Awakening and gender patterns in colonial America is crucial, and the adoption of a feminist strategy of reading is particularly important.

Comparing other accounts of those who have been impelled by spiritual conviction to act against convention and law is illuminating, as is reading personal narratives of women of the period who use the autobiographical text as a private means of self-vindication in a patriarchal culture.

Students enjoy discussing whether Ashbridge is heroic or perverse.

Elizabeth Ashbridge (1713-1755)

They often identify with her independent spirit and even her proto-feminist rebellion, but lament her increasingly dour tone and her failed marriage.

Some wonder whether she gave up too much for conscience's sake. Some students see the husband as abusive or imperious but cannot help sympathizing with his distress over losing a mirthful wife.

Students also wonder if Quakers courted their social estrangement, contributing to their own victimization, and ask whether Quakers should be blamed or censured for their martyrdom.

The expressly female dilemma of having to choose between conscience and husband, as well as the social stresses upon a woman who defies traditional and prescribed sex roles, threatening the stability of the patriarchal order.

Early American Literature

The doctrinal and social conflicts between Anglicans and Quakers in early America; more broadly, the pressures from a predominantly Anglican, increasingly secularized culture to tame or compartmentalize religious fervor. Ways in which women autobiographers use personal narrative for self-vindicating purposes, or for private rebellion against patriarchal norms.

The degree to which autobiography may be read as factual truth as opposed to an invention or reconstruction of reality; the reliability of the personal narrator as witness to and interpreter of events; the fictional elements of the genre.

Making a living as a woman in colonial America. Marriage, husbands' prerogatives, men's and women's ways of coping with marital estrangement.

The nature of religious conviction; Quaker doctrine, patterns of worship, and social customs. Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions Study the document as an example of the genre of spiritual autobiography, of personal narrative, of female and feminist assertion, of social history, of eighteenth-century rationalism, and at the same time of revivalist ardor.

Explore to what degree the document is confessional and to what degree it may be understood as contrivance or fiction. How is the author "inventing" herself as she writes?

How does she turn her experience into a didactic instrument for the edification of her readers? Original Audience Social, historical, religious, and political contexts are primary issues.

The composition and publication history of the text--penned just before Ashbridge's death-- are also illuminating, especially considering that no version of the document in Ashbridge's own hand survives, and scholars are not in consensus about which extant version of the autobiography may be considered authoritative or closest to the original.

Consider the Great Awakening audience who may have read this account of religious conversion.

Elizabeth ashbridge essay

Does the document create a sense of feminine solidarity? Can one theorize about the kind of audience to whom Ashbridge directed the Account? Diaries, journals, and letters of early American women documenting romantic, religious, and social experiences compare Sarah Kemble KnightJarena Lee, Sarah Osborne, Abigail Adamsand so forth are useful.

Benjamin Franklin's more cunning and more secular Autobiography makes an apt parallel.There is plenty of drama in Elizabeth Ashbridge, as almost every critic of her narrative notes.

In fact, it is a commonplace in Ashbridge criticism to list her multiple identities, as a way to emphasize the "uncommon Occurrences" (Ashbridge ) of her life.

Opening: Friday 2 February, pm. Continues: 3 February - 28 March Artist Talk: Saturday 17 February, pm. Artist Master class: 24 February, pm. quaker studies () [] issn x reading a quakers' book: elizabeth ashbridge's testimony of quaker literary theory tarter the college of new jersey, usa abstract.

Awakening the Inner Light: Elizabeth Ashbridge and the Transformation of Quaker Community.(Critical Essay) Early American Literature. See all results for this publication.

Browse back issues of this publication by date. March 22, Elizabeth Ashbridge This is a paper that discusses Some Accounts of the Early Part of the Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge.

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Project MUSE - In the Apostle's Words: Elizabeth Ashbridge's Epistle to the Goshen Monthly Meeting