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Examine Wollstonecraft's work as constrained by being the product of its day and age,...

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sharief78 | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted November 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM via web

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Examine Wollstonecraft's work as constrained by being the product of its day and age, according to Bakhtinian ideas.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM (Answer #1)

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Part of Bakhtin's basic idea is that there is an interplay that exists within all construction of language.  Nothing, Bakhtin would argue, simply exists on its own.  Rather, it is a construction of what has been or what has existed and then comes into its own as a response to it. This becomes the basis of the dialogic construction of language that is such a part of Bakhtin's work.  Wollstonecraft's work follows this logic.  Her work serves as a response to Edmund Burke's ideas put forth in Reflections on the Revolution in France.  In Bakhtin's light, the example of language shown by Wollstonecraft in her work proves the fluid nature of language.  It is one in which individuals actively recall what has been in order to construct what is and what can be.  Language is framed in an intertext between past and present.  Wollstonecraft's work is an example of this. She is directly constructing new language in light of old language that dictates what women are and how they are seen.  For example, whe she argues that women are "human creatures," it is a use of language that is interplaying against the idea that women are not seen as "human creatures."  Language has already been used to suggest that they are not human, and thus Wollstonecraft's use of language must be a response to this.  In doing so, Bakhtin's point as to how there is a constant interaction between what was and what is becomes clear.

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