Romantism Subjects

During the Romantic Period there seemed to be revolution in the air. The

American Revolution and the French Revolution of 1789 had a great impact on
literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This impact can be seen
throughout Romantic literature but especially in the area of new subjects.

Before the 19th century authors tended to write about the aristocratic class.

There was nothing written for or about the common people. There are three areas
in which the discussion will focus upon in the area of new subjects. The first
area will focus on the children, the second will be women, and the third will be
the new attitude towards God. The Romantic period strongly emphasized the lives
of children. Authors writing at that time did not just look at children playing
outside but within real life situations. Writing started to be explored in the
language of the common man. The topics presented by most of these writers
appealed to the general public. Today, the area of children within literary
works does not seem revolutionary. At this time, however, there were no writings
that reflected the everyday lives of children. The first important poem in the

Romantic period with regards to children is by William Blake, "The Chimney

Sweep." This poem focuses upon the tremendous abuse of children during this
time. This poem portrays visions of death throughout "were all of them
lock\'d up in coffins of black"(Norton 31). This quote catches the reader\'s
attention with a vision of death. These children talked of death very candidly
because they died young. The sweeper almost inevitably would have died before he
even knew how to live life. They worked in horrible labor conditions with no
sign of relief because there were no labor laws. These children mainly died from
consumption of the fumes within the shaft or by an accident. "We are

Seven" by William Wordsworth refers frequently to children. This poem is
told from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl. A young girl as the center
of the poem would have been unheard of in earlier periods. The little girl has a
brother and a sister who have died. The girl shows the reader the presence of
another reality. The audience could not have understood this new reality we
before the entrance of a child\'s perspective. The child has seven people in the
family but two are dead. The little girl\'s reality is different than the
readers. She believes her family members are with her even though they are
really dead. These two poems impacted the populace to be aware of the
exploitation of children and their understandings of the world. Frankenstein
also addresses the concept of children in literature. Mary Shelly does it on
several occasions. The first reference to children in the book is when Victor\'s
brother is killed. Only in the Romantic Period do readers see the concept of
death of children. Also on another occasion within the novel the talk centers on
children migrating because of war. In earlier novels the role of children was
not predominant. Another area in which the Romantic writings were opened were
the writings on and by women. The most influential work would be Mary

Wolstonecraft\'s work The Vindication of The Rights of Woman. There are many
points that are brought to light within this work. Wolstonecraft calls for the
education of all people, including women. She does not want to educate women for
the amusement of men, but for intellectual stimuli. She tires to argue for
women\'s education in a subtle way. She argues for the education of women to be
for the betterment of the populace. Wolstonecraft tries to make the point that
the education of women would be in a good light. She argues that the education
of women would create stability within the home. Husbands and wives will be able
to hold a substantive conversation; they will "become the friend, and not
the humble dependant of her husband"(Norton 113). Wollstonecraft was able
to write in this way because she herself was educated. Her relationship with her
husband was one of a mutual affection not a necessity, and he was not threatened
by this. Women threatened other contemporary males during this time. As seen
here from a journal called Gentleman\'s Magazine in April 1799: In the general
confusion of ideas, religious, moral, and political, we are not surprised to
find claims set up for the female sex, unsupported we must say by prescription,
but we are justified in saying by reason. Mrs. R. avows herself of the school of

Wollstonecroft; and that is enough for all