“Bad people” are not evil by nature

In chapter II, Olaudah Equiano was forced into a ship of slaves by the crew, and he lived in hell for weeks with other slaves. During his stay with the crew, Equiano found they were not “bad” by nature. Instead, they were institutional slaves themselves and victims, having been trained and ordered to treat slaves in a rough, stone-hearted and subhuman manner. All this, in their eyes, was the right thing to do and their obligation to fulfill just like soldiers executed orders from their commander. In short, the so-called bad people are not evil by nature; instead, they are trained and shaped into what they are in a specific social, economic and culture context.
Collins, Janelle (2001) said Equiano “was immediately handled and tossed up to see if I were sound by some of the crew” when forced into a slave ship (45). He rated the way the black ship crew checked on himself, their peer no different from the way customers checked and bought products preferred, so as to ensure the “products” were sound and valuable. Later, Collins, Janelle (2001) said Equiano realized “I had gotten into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me” (48) because the crew was told to finish the whole procedure exactly as they were told, no matter whether they liked it or not. This fact revealed the poor situation of the crew where they were the slaves to their superiors because both the slaves and themselves lost free will and feelings for anger, happiness and hatred. As such, the crew was walking dead men. Moreover, when they tossed the slaves around on the ship and beat them with a whip to blood, they felt nothing themselves-no guilt, no sympathy for slaves, and thus no awareness of treating slaves who were their peers in a soft and discreet way. This revealed the “evilness” of the crew and their lack of the ability of thinking for themselves which was the core symbol of their free will and humanity, Unfortunately, their humanity had been deprived. Likewise, they did not feel satisfied when finishing this task assigned by their superiors, because they had been depersonalized through numerous killings and tortures of others unconsciously which made them feel nothing. Also, Henry Louis (1989) said Equiano was “surprised by the way they relate to each other, as they are even cruel between themselves” (113). For example, the crew would swear at others and kick others in their stomach without hesitation if their bread was eaten accidentally by others. At this point, the white people were institutional slaves just like the slaves they prison, because they were originally pure and good people, and it was the cruel organizational mechanism of indifference, exclusion and self-interest orientation that made them evil and felt nothing by treating others roughly over time. At this point, it is concluded people are not what they are born; instead, they are defined by the way in which they are cultivated and what they are told to do.
References:
Collins, Janelle. Passage to Slavery, Passage to Freedom: Olaudah Equiano and the Sea. Midwest Quarterly, 2006, 45-48.
Henry Louis. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. Oxford University Press, 1989, 113.
The interesting narrative of Olaudah Equiano. Retrieved 14 December 1998.

Marriage as Prison for Maria

In Maria’s tragic life, she had a terrible marriage and was finally imprisoned in a mental institution by his husband, George Venables. As a matter of fact, Maria has done nothing wrong, but her entire life was abused and destroyed by her husband. The marriage for Maria was like a prison, and she only served as a slave in the marriage.

During Maria’s flee from home, she fell in love with George and they were married later. George turned out to be a terrible husband since he spent time and money in gambling and finding prostitutes and never cared about the family. Although George should shoulder the responsibility of supporting the family as a man, he would choose to lift the burden to Maria, which was utterly unfair to Maria. As an outstanding feminist writer, Mary Wollstonecraft stated in her masterpiece A Vindication of the Rights of Women that, “But not content with this natural pre-eminence, men endeavor to sink us still lower, merely render us alluring objects for a moment.” (Wollstonecraft, A Vindication p121) Apparently, in Mary Wollstonecraft’s opinion, men were naturally taking women as inferior to them, so they would never treat women with equality. Therefore, it made sense that George should leave everything in the family to Maria and take it for granted that Maria should take care of the household.

Worse still, in the marriage, George even forced Maria to participate in the sexual encounters, which led to Maria’s pregnancy. Maria’s willingness in the sexual relationship was also controlled by her husband, so she nearly had no freedom or rights between her relationship with her husband. As Maria said, “Men, more effectually to enslave us”, (p66) so she seemed to be the slave of her husband in her eyes. When George used up all the money in the family, it became extremely hard for Maria to maintain the family. The blows for Maria could be tremendous, but she could do nothing to change her situation in the marriage since women were expected to stay at home and take care of the family, and only men got the opportunity to participate in education, politics and so on. Thus, when women had no rights, their destiny could only be controlled by men, which was just like Maria’s marriage.

Evidently, George was in the dominant position in the marriage, and Maria was deemed as inferior to him as a slave. Therefore, Maria had no rights in the family and merely had to suffer from her husband’s insult and humiliation. When she was suffering from the misery of the marriage, nobody could or would like to save her since women possessed no rights at that time. Because Maria was a woman, so she had no rights, and she could only live as a prisoner in the family and stay invisible to the entire society. Thus, a woman like Maria was doomed to be controlled by man for her whole life at that time.

Reference
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Women. New York: Oxford University Press. 2009.

Indirect Speech in Mansfield Park

British female writer Jane Austin is characterized by her wide usage of free indirect speech in novels and is considered to be one of the pioneers who used free indirect speech. As a significant product of Jane Austin, Mansfield Park is also an illustration of free indirect speech, which can be found in the latter part of this book.

Mansfield Park is a written record of Fanny Price’s growth. Fanny experienced diverse psychological changes in the different period. When composing Mansfield Park, Austin used the frequency of free indirect speech to demonstrate Fanny’s growth. In the initial part, Austin chose a compromising method so that readers can have a gradual understanding of characters. Due to Fanny’s psychological traits in adolescence period, it is unnecessary to utilize free indirect speech, and this book does not aim to focus on the description of Fanny’s early childhood. And given that Fanny ‘s timid, vulnerable and innocent features in adolescence, Austin did not use free indirect speech at the very beginning; later on, with Fanny’s growth, a significant number of free indirect speeches appeared. In chapters 7 & 8, free indirect speech was used to depict Sotherton’s visiting the garden. From chapter 14 to 21, free indirect speech was frequently used to describe the play rehearsal. Chapter 26 to 28 focused on Fanny’s first time to attend a ball, where the author used incredibly many free indirect speeches to depict characters’ psychology. In chapter 27, for instance, when Edward made it clear to Fanny that he was going to marry Miss Crawford, Fanny felt painful, “Could she believe Miss Crawford to deserve him, it would be—oh, how different would it be—how far more tolerable! But he was deceived in her; he gave her merits which she had not; her faults were what they had ever been, but he saw them no longer.”(301)

Austin does not appreciate Miss Crawford’s characteristics and shows her scorn at Miss Crawford’s view of marriage. This way, Austin indirectly implemented narrative actions and demonstrated her narrative position.

From chapter 31 to 39, the author described Fanny’s refusal of Mr. Crawford’s proposal, which also includes free indirect speech. For example, in chapter 38, “She was at home. But, alas! It was not such a home, she had not such a welcome, as—she checked herself; she was unreasonable. What right had she to be of importance to her family? She could have none, so long lost sight of!” (433)

Sometimes, an indirect speech works more efficiently than words originated from narrators. For instance, “Fanny found that it was not to be, and in the modesty of her nature immediately felt that she had been unreasonable in expecting it.”(139)

Free indirect speech used by Jane Austin helps narrator participate in the characters’ mental activities; thus, readers can hear double voices from narrators and characters. While expressing author herself, Austin gives readers sufficient imagination as well as investigation and reflection on social realities.

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Wordsworth Editions Ltd; Reprint,1992

Noble mind, the very beauty of human nature

Fanny Price had been instilled with the idea by his aunt Mansfield Park that she was nobody to the family and even to the world. However, Fanny was a tough and persistent girl to secure her vulnerable dignity with the noble thinking to live a meaningful life and ready to help others.

When her elder cousin Tom Bertram asked her out for company, Fanny was so self-humbled that she said “Everything. My situation, my foolishness and awkwardness” was preventing her from going out and having fun as she liked (p.18, para. 7), given her dilemma in which she had lost all the hopes to move on. Fanny tended to rate herself as a tough girl with the ability and tenacity to deal with all the bad days in her life journey, but sometimes, she also felt she needed a break from the pathetic life by chewing over the bitterness and getting her fragility exposed in public. At this sight, the good-hearted boy did not laugh at the seemingly weak and cowardliness of this poor girl; instead, he cheered her up by saying that she was a good girl, and in his eyes, even her clumsiness in movements was “adorable.”

Having lived in a family with mean parents, Tom Bertram knew deep down in his heart that how it felt to stay alone and how helpless he was to turn the table, because he simply could not escape this family, just like her poor little cousin Fanny, a girl in a foster family. To some degree, it was the similar perception of adult’s society and the cruel human world that made them converge in mentality, in spite of the appearance of people, good or bad.

As a boy haunted by loneliness and sentimentality, he tried all he could to remove the dark shadow over her. For instance, as to the vital importance of Fanny, he said “There is no reason in the world why you should not be important where you are known” (p.18. Para.25), in a bid to tide her through the darkness physically and mentally and make her on her feet. At this point, I saw two individuals bravely and optimistically deal with the mess in the life who were fighters for the light at the end of the tunnel. Although they might at time complaint about how a miserable life they were living, and how much the adults disliked them, they had never lost the humor to lighten their dark days and the courage to give a big smile to get each other’s back.

Also, they genuinely understood the vulnerability of human nature with an open mind, and it was this vulnerability spot that offered Fanny and her male cousin the perfect excuse to give vent to their unluckiness and setbacks encountered. I think, people’s noble mind is the very beauty of human nature.

Manipulative Power and Brutality of Victoria

In Charlotte Dacre’s gothic novel Zofloya; or, The Moor, Victoria is shaped like the main heroine, which carries the characteristics of being manipulative, brutal and violent. The dark side of Victoria’s personality is best exemplified by her attitude towards her husband, Berenza.

Victoria used to own a rather happy family, but she has changed a lot since her mother left home. She held extremely strong revenge and cursed over her mother’s betrayal of the entire family, and this kind of thinking has directly influenced her relationship with Berenza. Her life with Berenza has been tranquil for the beginning several years, but after Berenza’s brother Henriquez came into their life, Victoria began to plan how to get rid of Berenza and eliminate Henriquez’s lover Lilla, and her cruelty gradually emerged.

In the beginning, Victoria deemed Berenza’s love as redundant and the blockade that hindered her pursuit for Henriquez’s love, so she could not hide her impatience towards Berenza. However, Berenza never noticed that, and he still showed his passionate affection to Victoria, but Victoria considered this to be rather disgusting and tried to escape from him. Poor Berenza “mistook this for the embrace of eager love, repentant at past coldness, and the accompanying action for sportive gaiety only.” (Dacre, 187) Actually, Berenza had no idea of Victoria’s change, and he still possessed the passion and love towards her. By taking advantage of Berenza’s love, Victoria could utterly control him. For poor Berenza, he viewed every move of Victoria as lovely and attractive, but Victoria hated it and never told him the truth. As Charlotte Dacre depicted, “while gazing herself with the thought-how soon he would cease to be”, (Dacre, 187) it was obvious that Victoria only had resentment over Berenza. Berenza’s innocence and pure love for Victoria did not move Victoria, but on the contrary, it just made Victoria’s coldness appear to be more prominent.

Later, after Victoria was seduced by Zofloya, she even planned to poison Berenza to death. Victoria’s desire for Henriquez occupied all her attention, so she would have to be indifferent and cruel towards Berenza. In Victoria’s crazy mind, she was quite eager to make Berenza vanish from her life so that she could obtain the opportunity to approach to Henriquez. Victoria offered Berenza the poison secretly, and Berenza should have no doubt over this. Clearly, he presented total trust and love towards her. Surprisingly, sometimes Victoria was very anxious because the poison was too slow to take effect. It was unimaginable for ordinary people to accept her cruelty and heartlessness. Compared to innocent Berenza, who showed his authentic love for Victoria, Victoria’s ruthlessness to kill him just out of her absurd idea was stunning to witness.

From Victoria’s impatience towards Berenza’s passionate love, it was evident that Victoria has completely manipulated him, and she possessed the absolutely dominant position in their relationship. After she fell in love in Henriquez, she hid the truth in front of Berenza and secretly kept planning to poison Berenza to death. Her manipulative power and brutality can be demonstrated through her attitude and behaviors over Berenza.

 

Works Cited

Dacre, Charlotte. Zofloya; or, The Moor. Vol. 2. London. 1806.

Study of the past: the saint and the witch

To judge a person, we need to know what he/she has done, over a longer period, or even in his/her whole life. So I would like to take a step back and look at what happened before the story. There are two people that I am particularly interested. First, Reverend Arthur Villars. Second, Madame Duvall. These two individuals are representing an extreme of good and evil that a person can get in the 18 century London.
Arthur Villars is like a saint; he took care of not only Evelina but also Evelina’s Mother and Grandfather. Initially, I thought he was a stubborn old man that says no to everything. But after knowing what happened before the story, I can feel the struggle in his heart when reading his words; he was the true father of the Evelyn line, but helplessly he had to watch them fall, one by one. He wants nothing but the best for Evelina, but he worries that the world will take her, the very last angel of his, away too.
“Your Ladyship may probably have heard, that I had the honour to accompany Mr. Evelyn, the grandfather of my young charge, when upon his travels, in the capacity of a tutor.”(20)
“He survived this ill-judged marriage but two years. Upon his death-bed, with an unsteady hand, he wrote me the following note:
“My friend, forget your resentment, in favour of your humanity;-a father, trembling for the welfare of his child, bequeaths her to your care. O Villars! hear! pity! And relieve me!”(21)
“Monsieur Duval, sent for her to Paris. How often have I since regretted that I did not accompany her thither!”(23)
Madame Duval, or we may also say Mrs.Evelyn, is ridiculously selfish and would do anything to get herself benefit. Without suggesting anything, just look at the numbers: Mr.Evelyn died after two years marrying her. She tried to “sell” Evelina’s mother right after she turned 18 and disowned her after failed. For that I would say, she as a mother, has nothing to do with Carline’s growing up, but has a lot to do with Caroline’s miserable fate. Now Evelina is 17, and Madame Duvall shows up, once again, is trying to sell her granddaughter just like what she did to her poor daughter.
“it is evident, from her writing, that she is still as vulgar and illiterate as when her first husband, Mr. Evelyn, had the weakness to marry her”(16)
“Madame Duval to abandon the unfortunate Lady Belmont, at a time when a mother’s protection was peculiarly necessary for her peace and her reputation.”(17)
It is fascinating to find the author has made these two people the very opposite side of humanity. Villar gives all the love he can to help Mr.Evelyn, Carline Evelyn, and Evelina, he brings knowledge and education to them. On the other side, to the same individuals, Mr.Evelyn, Carline Evelyn, and Evelina, Duvall tries to take advantage of each one of them. All she cares is her self-interest, she does not care if her action will bring the worst to others. Many famous stories after the 18 century have comparable distinctive characters, and perhaps Duvall is one of the origins of the “old witches”?

Double-Standards of the 18-Century

The author satires the double standards of 18 century UK society towards two groups of people:
1.A male-ruling society double-standard the moral principles of male and female. Relatively lenient on men and harsh on women, yet most female accept this, obedience this, and even helps to maintain the double standards.
“Remember, my dear Evelina, nothing is so delicate as the reputation of a woman; it is at once the most beautiful and most brittle of all human things.”(Villars,183)
“O you cannot, must not be so barbarous.” And he took my hand, and ran on, saying such fine speeches, and compliments, that I might almost have supposed myself a goddess, and him a pagan paying me adoration.”(Evelina, About Lord Merton, 124)
“And, surely, my dear Sir, it was a great liberty in this lord, not withstanding his rank, to treat me so freely.”(Evelina, also about Merton, 124)
“Lord Merton was determined not to know me before Lady Louisa”(Evelina, 321)
2.An authority-worshiping society double-standard the definition of decency for different social classes. Extolling no matter how the higher class acts, and frequently despises lower classes for not following the unspoken rules, and the extreme of reacting are often expressed from a lower class who has just adopted the rules, towards their new peers.
“I confess I seldom listen to the players: one has so much to do, in looking about and finding out one’s acquaintance, that, really, one has no time to mind the stage. ”(Lovel, 89)
“No, Sir,” cried I, with some spirit, “I would have that gentleman vote,-if, indeed, he is not superior to joining our party.” They all looked at me, as if they doubted whether or not they had heard me right: but, in a few moments, their surprise gave way to a rude burst of laughter.”(Evelina, 214)
These two similar cases about double standards cached my intention; it seems like there is a pattern in it. I try to take the view of an 18-century citizen of London, to read and discover what has the author hide beneath this pattern.
Limiting my view to an 18-century London citizen, without pulling in modern thoughts, I can still see a pattern here: A group of people that contains group-A and group-B inside, generates an entirely different judgment upon the same action, in the same case, done by an individual form separate groups. What has happened here? Group-A gains the social leading position by whatever way and consciously weakens the status of group-B by setting up double-standard rules, spoken or unspoken. Most individuals of group-B accept, adopt, follow, and at last become a force to straighten the double-standard rule. It may look very understandable(although not agreeable) for group-A to increase their dominance; however, the react of group-B, especially when we see most of the group-B fighting even harder to secure group-A’s superior, that is what makes our day gloomy, indignant, and even desperate. The pattern reminds me of more similar cases repeatedly appears in the history of every nation on our planet, conquerors and the conquered, slaveholders and the slaves, old immigrants and newcomers, the same old drama from thousands of years ago keep on playing till today and pathetically maybe tomorrow.
The emerge of this pattern, in most cases, meaning the completely lost of group B’s independence, and the start of a total slavery, from flesh to soul. But when we come back and take a closer look at these two cases in the book, and try to think about it, it is rather shocking. These two groups, female and male, nobles and citizens, they were NOT different parties at all, they live together from the very beginning. They were split by themselves, by the very same group of people they lived together within the same society! Imagine your right body enslaves your left body, and most parts of your left body seriously think that your right body is more premier than the left. That sounds no smarter than any animal, and it makes me doubt the group intelligence of us as one species.
“it is the general harbour of fraud and of folly, of duplicity and of impertinence”(Villars, 129)
Group intelligence has always been ridiculously ruined by the avarice of some individuals. The only reason that people from group-B will support the double-standard for their own group is the hope of becoming one of group-A and have someone to bully by themselves. As we see in the book, upstarts seek for newer people in the high society to mock on, senior women find younger girls to judge on, and unsuccessful people find the poor to look down upon. All these double-standard actions towards their own group are clearly shameless, immoral, and lacking even a shred of social responsibility.
“Never can I consent to have this dear and timid girl brought forward to the notice of the world by such a method; a method which will subject her to all the impertinence of curiosity, the sneers of conjecture, and the stings of ridicule.”(Villars,142)
Now the logic naturally leads to how to eliminate this idiotic but widespread double-standard and self-division of our society? I am triumphal to see, even with very simple logic and information no further than an 18-century human should obtain, it is not hard to be lead by the book to see a bright spot in the darkness — equality. From here I would say although it’s just a love story, after all, the positive thoughts in this book are far more important to the 18-century society than Pamela is.
“the right line of conduct is the same for both sexes”(Villars, 242)

Sentimental Covered by Reason

Our sentimental Mr.Yorick travels across France, all the way from North to South, gathering random little stories on the way, having relationships with different girls.

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So where is the sentimental anyway? It seems like, in most of the situation, Yorick is rather not sentimental, or let’s say he is somehow very reasonable. He mentioned the difference in the book: Luke-warm hearts/ Clay-cold heads. And it seems like his luke-warm hearts only secretly functions when he’s talking to a female, an attractive female.

“Yes, – and then -. Ye whose clay-cold heads and luke-warm hearts can argue down or mask your passions, tell me, what trespass is it that man should have them?”(90)

I figure he is in completely two different status when he talks to different gender: When Yorick speaks to male, he gets very reasonable, straight forward and confidence, or let’s just say he acts very normal.

“I’ve taken your lodgings for a month, and I’ll not quit them a day before the time…” (69)

Not only here, but he was also very active and confident when he went to get his passport. Even it’s a cold visit, he successfully got a passport from a man he doesn’t know at all, and he didn’t get very nervous or uncomfortable about the misunderstood, his funny title did not bother him.

But he acts not that natural when he’s with a female. Whenever he talks to a woman, lots of thoughts were told to the reader, but not spoken by Yorick, the “sentimental” thoughts turn out the be more proper words when it comes out of his mouth, for instance, he hid his thoughts here:
“I was just going to cry out, Then I will write it, fair girl! upon thy lips. -If I do, said I, I shall perish; ”(89)

When he’s with a female, his sentimental thoughts were contained by reason. The story seems very partial to him: He always gets to exist in a context that he was put together with a female, and the female is rather actively towards him, it is almost like the female has heard what his thoughts and answering him.

“so that Monsieur Dessein left us together with her hand in mine,”(16)
“I am sure you must have one of the best pulses of any woman in the world. – Feel it, said she, holding out her arm.”(53)

He only lets the voice of reason come out; his sentimental feelings to female were mostly kept by himself. (Except for Eliza, he doesn’t hide his feelings for Eliza at all.) Perhaps the author is suggesting a balance between sentimental and reason?

 

Virtue Rewarded What?

Richardson has made this book reads like a propaganda of a specific religion moral standard, rather than a love story novel. In critical eyes of the modern world, some parts could be annoying and repeating. In the first part of the book, the deepest impression thing, unfortunately, seems to be Mrs.Jewkes’s arm: “She has a huge hand, and an arm as thick as my waist, I believe.”(266)
The story itself is quite hard to understand: the hopeless male leading role kept trying to take Pamela’s chastity and did all the other offensive things to be disgusted. Pamela repeatedly “yells” at her parents in the letter that how she will protect her virtue, and how pure she is. Then the guy suddenly decides to marry Pamela, Pamela happily agreed and couldn’t be more grateful. I would say the logic is somehow ridiculous, even weird.
Richardson preaches to female to protect their chastity and see it as the most precious thing they ever had, which is even more important than life itself. Marriage was given as a reward for virtue; he is telling the female not to lose the only bargaining chip in their hands. Although he didn’t say so, he made marriage sound like a trade, which will not be “fair” unless you keep your chastity. But remembering what I had known from Roxana last week, a marriage of that time does not protect the fundamental rights and interest of female at all. So in the end, what exactly does Pamela get in exchange of her chastity?
Shamela was written to mock and criticize Richardson; Fielding suggests that Pamela is a hypocritical cunning woman who is good at temptation. It doesn’t matter how Richardson insists Pamela’s virtue, nor how Fielding questions Pamela’s inner center, they both can make sense only if you chose to think that way. It is a novel, not real life, both sides have more than enough evidence to claim their correctness, however, nobody, after all, can slip into Pamela’s brain and figure out what exactly was she thinking. But if Fielding was right, wouldn’t it be way too pathetic to deliberately design it all just to lose her chastity in a “correct process” and be owned as a thing?
It is interesting to see these originators of the novel, and to know how exactly the details of the society was in the history, I have learned and feel lots of things that would look rather pale if on a history page.
And also, how the author deals with their intention is interesting, in this particular book, Pamela, it feels like the author failed or didn’t want to hide his intention from the reader at all. Virtue Rewarded:”Readers who pay for my book and do as I wrote will get to marry a wealthy guy.” If readers do as he told, the results seem to suggest Fielding is right, at least about the followers.

The Marrage Law could save countless “whores”

Amy said that she would rather be a whore than seeing her mistress starve, and suggests her mistress should think alike. She mentioned “honesty is out of the question when starving is the case”, it is a very practical survivor logic, for bread, we can not blame. As described in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, when physiological needs were hardly fulfilled for them, we certainly should not judge Roxana or Amy for being a “whore” for bread. However, at this very first time of considering to be a “whore”, Roxana has stubborn resistance, she’d rather starve.
What d’ye mean by that, Hussy, said I? No, I’d starve first. (p. 25).
O Madam, says Amy, I’d do any thing to get you out of this sad Condition; as to Honesty, I think Honesty is out of the Question, when Starving is the Case; are not we almost starv’d to Death? I am indeed, said I, and thou art for my sake; but to be a Whore, Amy! and there I stopt. (p. 25).
However, when the landlord died, she doesn’t seem morose, perhaps that is because she never saw herself as his wife.
I was a Whore, not a Wife; nor cou’d I ever frame my Mouth to call him Husband, or to say my Husband, when I was speaking of him.(p. 40).
When she accepted the prince, I thought that’s when she changed; yet this seems not to be the sudden change I mentioned last week, it is a process that begins with giving up her children and deciding to sleep with the landlord. She started to lost grasp of the moral standard that she was trying to maintain, repeatedly blame herself, and within self-denial, she began to think herself a whore.
And thus in Gratitude for the Favours I receiv’d from a Man, was all Sence of Religion, and Duty to God, all Regard to Virtue and Honour, given up at once, and we were to call one another Man and Wife, who, in the Sence of the Laws, both of God and our Country, were no more than two Adulterers, in short, a Whore and a Rogue; nor, as I have said above, was my Conscience silent in it, tho’, it seems, his was; for I sinn’d with open Eyes, and thereby had a double Guilt upon me; (p. 39).
After accepting this self-positioning, the struggling process inside her mind has already made her a little neurotic, and pathologically emphasize the position of “whore”, she even started her moral self-destruction by forcing Amy to become a whore.
Had I look’d upon myself as a Wife, you cannot suppose I would have been willing to have let my Husband lye with my Maid, much less, before my Face, for I stood-by all the while; but as I thought myself a Whore, I cannot say but that it was something design’d in my Thoughts, that my Maid should be a Whore too, and should not reproach me with it. (p. 42).
I did all I could to pacify her: A Whore! says I, well, and am not I a Whore as well as you? No, no, says Amy, no, you are not, for you are Marry’d; not I, Amy, says I, I do not pretend to it; (p. 42).
When the landlord died, she had psychologically finished the process from strong resistance to accepting to even wearing “whore” as a protection suit. After giving up, or throwing away all moral standards, with insight ahead of its time, she discovered a fact: At the time she lives, marriage has nothing good for a woman. It strips away all the rights and fortune and dignity of a woman and form up a relation which is nearly slavery.
‘That the very Nature of the Marriage-Contract was, in short, nothing but giving up Liberty, Estate, Authority, and every-thing, to the Man, and the Woman was indeed, a meer Woman ever after, that is to say, a Slave’ (p. 187).
After digging out the truth of marriage, I think she is facing a situation with difficult choices: rights, fortune, freedom, dignity, marriage, love, when these things are not compatible, she has to decide what to give up. To give up wealth and liberty and dignity in exchange for a possibly stable marriage and love? Or to keep her cards in hands, to keep the initiative in the society? Regardless of her other decisions, giving up marriage when she can only choose one group out of two, is possibly a safer way for her. And I luckily live in a society which is not alike, which makes any judgment I make upon this decision of hers, not appropriate nor fair.
I think I may say now, that I liv’d indeed like a Queen; or if you will have me confess, that my Condition had still the Reproach of a Whore, I may say, I was sure, the Queen of Whores; for no Woman was ever more valued, or more caress’d by a Person of such Quality, only in the Station of a Mistress; (pp. 73-74).
To summarize, I think she is a poor woman who has been driven “mad” by a pathetic society, the absence of marriage law forced her to deprivation. She was forced to choose between the most important things as a human being, all of that, her choices and consequences would all be different only if the marriage law was there to protect her rights and fortune. Her “Whorening” starts when she gives up her children and finishes around(but not affected by) the death of the landlord. In a forgiving vision of modern society, she didn’t do anything unforgivable, the only one outrageous thing- giving up her children, lead to her punishment when she refused to make it right, and caused her everything at the end of the story.