13 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2022
    1. feeding a canary-bird

      The famous opening of Northanger Abbey describes Catherine Morland “as plain as any.” Yet from the list of qualities and habits that set her against narrative expectations—the Gothic and the sentimental—and social expectations—femininity and propriety—Catherine’s character ultimately emerges as unconventional, too. In seemingly trivial and funny details, such as her preference for cricket over “feeding a canary-bird,” the narrator intimates her inconformity with dominant beliefs about the nature of women. The canary alludes to existing associations between birds and women that underscored women’s lack of rationality and their supposed vulnerability.

      In many portraits of the period, young girls were eroticized through their connection to birds, particularly when portrayed weeping for a dead pet bird, a sign of their loss of sexual innocence. Canaries, a favorite songbird in the late eighteenth-century household, were associated with young girls through their delicate size, beautiful and soft feathers, and prized songs [1]. Women’s musical abilities, as exemplified in Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815), were a sure-fire sign of their marriageability: good singers made good wives [2]. Maturity didn’t save women from disparaging associations with birds. Spinsters were oftentimes portrayed surrounded by parrots and bird cages, the equivalent of crazy cat ladies. By creating a heroine who is more likely to be found outdoors exercising than feeding a small, delicate bird, Austen disassociates Catherine from these sexist beliefs.

      Not all associations to birds were troubling, though. Songbirds figured in stories for young children to instill kindness toward other animals, as in Sarah Trimmer’s Fabulous Histories (1786). Austen’s contemporaries shared a strong belief that educating children to treat animals with kindness was the foundation for instilling sympathy toward other humans [3]. Yet, as Mary Wollstonecraft argued in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), a rational woman knew that compassion “for the bird starved in a snare” came second (or third) to compassion for her fellow humans.

  2. Jun 2021
    1. Entitle yourself in the fun-filled moments with the Varanasi Escorts

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  3. Apr 2021
    1. The personality is half mom, half teenager: “cool babysitter.” Seamless will let me stay up late, eat Frosted Flakes for dinner, and watch an R-rated movie

  4. Mar 2021
  5. Feb 2020
  6. Dec 2018
    1. Girls, even when their abilities in science equaled or excelled that of boys, often were likely to be better overall in reading comprehension

      What does this say about different skill sets? Is this biological or genetic, or is it just conditioned?

  7. Jul 2018
    1. “I haven’t got any teeth to hurt. They have all come out. I have only got seven teeth. My mother counted them last night, and one came out right afterward. She said she’d slap me if any more came out. I can’t help it. It’s this old Europe. It’s the climate that makes them come out. In America they didn’t come out. It’s these hotels.”

      A possible assertion that American custom or culture is better than European.

  8. Feb 2018
  9. Jun 2017
  10. Dec 2016