Dorothy Wordsworth

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What can be inferred about Dorothy Wordsworth's role as a woman in her society, daily life, and writing from her entries in Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 1, pages 29–61?

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In her journals, Dorothy Wordsworth seldom expresses her emotions directly, though they can often be inferred. She generally seems to be content with a pleasant, tranquil life at Grasmere, though she is often saddened by the poverty and hardship she sees. Beggars are mentioned several times in this section of the journal, which covers the second half of the year 1800. There are many passages you might choose which illuminate Dorothy Wordsworth's literary, social, and domestic role as a woman at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Here is one example:

Thursday.β€”All the morning I was busy copying poems. Gathered peas, and in the afternoon Coleridge came. He brought the 2nd volume of Anthology. The men went to bathe, and we afterwards sailed down to Loughrigg. Read poems on the water, and let the boat take its own course. We walked a long time upon Loughrigg. I returned in the grey twilight. The moon just setting as we reached home.

This is on page 45, immediately before the entry for Friday, August 1. First, it is interesting to note how much time Dorothy Wordsworth spends copying out poems (almost certainly for her brother, William). She does this all morning and, by contrast, only writes a few sentences in her own journal, late at night. In addition to this, she performs most of the domestic tasks in the cottage, such as gathering peas here (other entries refer to her cooking and washing the linen, as well as gardening).

Although she takes part in the social activities of the group, sailing and reading poems with the men, they have more freedom. They, for example, go out to bathe in the lakes and rivers, while she does not. In this entry, as in most others, Dorothy Wordsworth appears content and placid, noticing the details of her beautiful environment and enjoying the company of Wordsworth and Coleridge.

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