This week’s quote is taken from Persuasion, chapter 23 on the conversation between Capt Harville and Anne Elliot (Wentworth was writing THE love letter to Anne in the same room).
Capt Harville: “But let me observe that all histories are against you -- all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps, you will say, these were all written by men.”
Anne Elliot: “Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
Two centuries have passed by since Miss Austen’s era, and so many had changed in the way education is conducted in many countries. Many women now have the same chance of enjoying education like men, such that I have nothing but utter gratitude for my luxury. However, at the same time, in many places too remote culturally, emotionally or geographically from where I am now, so many women are still without proper access to education, and if they do, they might have to do that in fear that it will be cut short one way or another, usually from the lack of fund in the family (forcing the parents to choose only the boys in the family to go to school and leave the girls to help in the kitchen) or from the lack of security (Afghanistan is an example popping into my mind now, but not the only one for sure).
So here’s to the hope that one day, sooner than later, any girls and boys in every spot in this planet will have equal opportunities to enjoy education and hence better their lives.
Pic: Art by Hugh Thompson on the scene where Wentworth gave Anne his love declaration letter, from Heritage Image. The conversation between Anne and Harville took place before this scene.