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Letter 5 of Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters. Personal View and Analysis

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Letter 5 of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written during a Short Residence focuses on her travelling north up Sweden’s southwest coast alone without her child and their maid. Throughout the passage she does not mention that she is without her daughter and maid however through reading this letter it is quite clear she is alone as she continually says “I” not “we” like in other letters. For example, “I crossed the bridge” and “I waited to see ice” which highlights how she is travelling on her own. However, she is not always on her own as near the end of the letter she states that she has companions with her, even though she has not had a previous relationship with them before their travels which leads to her being thankful that they don’t snore.

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I feel that in this extract Mary Wollstonecraft portrays herself as an independent and driven woman due to her being without her daughter and maid. I also find her to be driven in this extract because she states “Had I // travel in Sweden merely for pleasure // chosen the road to Stockholm” the reason I believe this emphasises her as driven is because she knows that she has come to Sweden to fulfil a duty and she is not letting anything distract her from that such as the much nicer scenery through Stockholm. Moreover, I think that this highlights her believe in feminism because she is showing clearly that women can do the same things as men such as adventures through countries for business purposes which links back to her beliefs of women having all the most important aspects the same as men as they can both complete this task of travelling alone without distractions which brings me back to how I feel she has portrayed herself as an independent and driven woman.

Throughout Letter 5 of Mary Wollstonecraft’s, Letters Written during a Short Residence she portrays her surroundings positively using words such as “picturesque” and “beauties” however then goes onto contradict herself by saying “detestable herrings which poisoned my pleasure”. It is as though she can see the beauty in her surroundings and can accept that they are nice to look at even though she feels that personally they ruin her pleasure as she can’t see what is so fascinating about the things around her.

Overall, I did not enjoy this passage as I found it difficult to understand the first time I read it, so I had to reread it a couple of times before I began to understand it more. However, once I began to understand it I did enjoy it. I found the adventure of Wollstonecraft in this passage to be very exciting as she is now travelling alone without her maid and daughter so everything that she is doing is purely just for herself even though she still had companions, I felt like she was experiencing more things due to being on her own.

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