Anarchism and Other Essays (Version 2) | Emma Goldman | Essays & Short Works | Sound Book | 1/5



woman's suffrage from anarchism and other essays by Emma Goldman this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine woman's suffrage we boast of the age of advancement of science and progress is it not strange then that we still believe in fetish worship true our fetishes have different form and substance yet in their power over the human mind they are still as disastrous as were those of old our modern fetish is universal suffrage those who had not yet achieved that goal fight bloody revolutions to obtain it and those who have enjoyed its reign bring heavy sacrifice to the altar of this omnipotent deity woe to the heretic who dare question that divinity woman even more than man is a fetish worshipper and though her idols may change she is ever on her knees ever holding up her hands ever blind to the fact that her God has feet of clay thus woman has been the greatest supporter of all deities from time immemorial thus – she has had to pay the price that only gods can exact her freedom her heart's blood her very life each is memorable Maxim when you go to woman take the whip along is considered very brutal yet Nietzsche expressed in one sentence the attitude of woman towards her gods religion especially the Christian religion has condemned woman to the life of an inferior a slave it has thwarted her nature and fettered her soul yet the Christian religion has no greater supporter none more devout than woman indeed it is safe to say that religion would have long ceased to be a factor in the lives of the people if it were not for the support it receives from woman the most ardent Church workers the most tireless missionaries the world over are women always sacrificing on the altar of the gods that have changed her spirit and enslaved her body the insatiable monster of war robs woman of all that is dear and precious to her it exact sir brothers lovers sons and in return gives her a life of lonely and despair yet the greatest supporter and worshipper of war is woman she it is who instills the love of conquest and power into her children she is who whispers the glories of war into the ears of her little ones and who rocks her baby to sleep with the tunes of trumpets and the noise of guns it is woman to who crowns the victor on his return from the battlefield yes it is woman who pays the highest price to that insatiable monster war and there is the home what a terrible fetish it is how it saps the very life energy of woman is modern prison with golden bars it's shining aspect blinds woman to the price she would have to pay as wife mother and housekeeper yet woman clings tenaciously to the home to the power that holds her in bondage it may be said that because woman recognizes the awful toll she has made to pay to the church-state in the home she wants suffrage to set herself free that may be true of the few the majority of suffragists repudiate utterly such blasphemy on the contrary they insist always that it is woman suffrage which will make her a better Christian and home keeper a staunch citizen of the state the suffrage is only a means of strengthening the omnipotence of the very gods that woman has served from time immemorial what wonder then that she should be just as devout just as zealous just as prostrate before the new idol woman's suffrage as of old she endures persecution imprisonment torture in all forms of condemnation with a smile on her face as of old the most enlightened even hoped for a miracle from the 20th century deity suffrage life happiness joy freedom independence all that and more is to spring from suffrage in her blind devotion woman does not see what people have intellect perceived 50 years ago that suffrage is an evil that it has only helped to enslave people that it has but closed their eyes that they may not see how craftily they were made to submit woman's demand for equal suffrage is based largely on the contention that women must have the equal right in all affairs of society no one could possibly refute that if suffrage were a right alas for the ignorance of the human mind which can see a right in an imposition or is it not the most brutal imposition for one set of people to make laws that another set is coerced by force to obey yet woman clamors for that golden opportunity that has wrought so much misery in the world and robbed man of his integrity and self-reliance in imposition which has thoroughly corrupted the people and made them absolute prey in the hands of unscrupulous politicians the poor stupid free American citizen free to starve free to Tramp the highways of this great country he enjoys universal suffrage and by that right he has forged chains about his limbs the reward that he receives is stringent labor laws prohibiting the right of boycott of picketing in fact of everything except the right to be robbed of the fruits of his labor yet all these disastrous results of the 20th century fetish have taught women nothing but then woman will purify politics we are assured needless to say I am not opposed to woman suffrage on the conventional ground that she is not equal to it I see neither physical psychological nor mental reasons why woman should not have the equal right to vote with man but that cannot possibly blind me to the absurd notion that woman will accomplish that wherein man has failed if she would not make things worse she certainly could not make them better to assume therefore that she would succeed in purifying something which is not susceptible the purification is to credit her with supernatural powers since woman's greatest misfortune has been that she was looked upon as either angel or devil or true salvation lies is being placed on earth namely in being considered human and therefore subject to all human follies and mistakes are we then to believe that two errors will make a right are we to assume that the poison already inherent in politics will be decreased if women were to enter the political arena the most ardent suffragists would hardly maintain such a folly as a matter of fact the most advanced students of universal suffrage have come to realize that all existing systems of political power are absurd and are completely inadequate to meet the pressing issues of life this view is also borne out by a statement of one who is herself an ardent believer in woman suffrage dr. Helen L Sumner in her able work on equal suffrage she says in Colorado we find that equal suffrage serves to show in the most striking way the essential rottenness and degrading character of the existing system of course dr. Sumner has in mind a particular system of voting but the same applies with equal force to the entire machinery of the representative system with such a basis it is difficult to understand a woman as a political factor would benefit either herself or the rest of mankind but say our suffrage devotees look at the countries in states where female suffrage exists see what woman has accomplished in Australia New Zealand Finland the Scandinavian countries and in our own four states Idaho Colorado Wyoming and Utah distance lends enchantment or to quote a poet formula it is well where we are not thus one would assume that those countries and states are unlike other countries or States that they have greater freedom greater social and economic equality a finer appreciation of human life deeper understanding of the great social struggle with all the vital questions that involves for the human race the women of Australia and New Zealand can vote and help make the laws are the labor conditions better there than they are in England where the suffragettes are making such a heroic struggle does there exist a greater motherhood happier and freer children than in England is women they're no longer considered a mere sex commodity is she emancipated herself from the puritanical double standard of morality for men and women certainly none but the ordinary female stump politician will dare answer these questions in the affirmative if that be so it seems ridiculous to point to Australia in New Zealand as the mecca of equal suffrage accomplishments on the other hand it is a fact to those who know the real political conditions in Australia that politics have gagged labour by enacting the most stringent labor laws making strikes without the sanction of an arbitration committee a crime equal to treason not for a moment do I mean to imply that woman suffrage is responsible for this state of affairs I do mean however that there is no reason to point to Australia as a wonder-worker of woman's accomplishment since her influence has been unable to free labour from the thraldom a political boss ISM Finland has given a woman equal suffrage nay even the right to sit in Parliament as that helped to develop a greater heroism an intense zeal than that of the women of Russia Finland like Russia smarts under the terrible whip of the bloody Tsar where are the finished Paris kaya's Buda Nova's fig neurs fresh goofs kaya's where are the countless numbers of Finnish young girls who cheerfully go to Siberia for their cause Finland is sadly in need of heroic liberators why has the ballot not created them the only Finnish Avenger of his people was a man not a woman and he used a more effective weapon than the ballot as to our own states where women vote in which are constantly being pointed out as examples of Marvel's what has been accomplished there through the ballot that women do not to a large extent enjoy in other states or that they could not achieve through energetic efforts without the ballot true in the suffrage states women are guaranteed equal rights to property but of what a veil is that right to the mass of women without property the thousands of wage workers who live from hand to mouth that equal suffrage didna and Kenna effect our condition is admitted even by dr. Sumner who certainly is in a position to know as an ardent suffragists and having been sent to Colorado by the collegiate equal suffrage League of New York State to collect material in favor of suffrage she would be the last to say anything derogatory yet we are informed that equal suffrage has but slightly affected the economic conditions of women that women do not receive equal pay for equal work and that the woman in Colorado has enjoyed school suffered since 1876 women teachers are paid less than in California on the other hand miss Sumner fails to account for the fact that although women have had school suffrage for 34 years and equal suffrage since 1894 the census in Denver alone a few months ago disclosed the fact of 15,000 defective school children and that too with mostly women in the educational department and also notwithstanding that women in Colorado have passed the most stringent laws for child and animal protection the women of Colorado have taken great interest in the state institutions for the care of dependent defective and delinquent children what a horrible indictment against women's care and interest if one city has 15,000 defective children what about the glory of woman suffrage since it has failed utterly in the most important social issue the child and where is the superior sense of justice that woman was to bring into the political field where was it in 1903 when the mine owners waged a guerrilla war against the Western miners Union when General Bell established a reign of terror pulling men out of beds at night kidnapping them across the border line throwing them into bull pens declaring to hell with the Constitution the club is the constitution where were the women politicians then and why did they not exercise the power of their vote but they did they helped to defeat the most fair-minded and liberal men governor wait the latter had to make way for the tool of the mind Kings governor Peabody the enemy of labor the Czar of Colorado certainly male suffrage could have done nothing worse granted wherein then are the advantages woman in society from Woman Suffrage the oft-repeated assertion that woman will purify politics is also but a myth it is not borne out by the people who know the political conditions of Idaho Colorado Wyoming and Utah woman essentially a purist is naturally bigoted and relentless in her effort to make others as good as she thinks they ought to be thus in Idaho she has disfranchised her sister of the street and declared all women of lewd character unfit to vote lewd not being interpreted of course as prostitution in marriage it goes without saying that illegal prostitution in gambling have been prohibited in this regard that law must needs be of feminine nature it always prohibits therein all laws are wonderful they go no further but they're very tendencies open all the flood gates of hell prostitution and gambling have never done a more flourishing business than since the law has been set against them in Colorado the Puritanism of woman has expressed itself in a more drastic form men of notoriously unclean lives and men connected with saloons have been dropped from politics since women have the vote good brother Comstock do more could all the Puritan fathers have done more I wonder how many women realize the gravity of this would be feet I wonder if they understand that it is the very thing which instead of elevating woman has made her a political spy a contemptible prime to the private affairs of people not so much for the good of the cause but because as a Colorado woman said they like to get into houses they have never been in and find out all they can politically and otherwise yes and into the human soul and it's my nudists nuts and corners for nothing satisfies the craving of most women so much as scandal and when did she ever enjoy such opportunities as our hers the politicians notoriously unclean lives and men connected with the saloons certainly the lady vote gatherers cannot be accused of much sense of proportion granting even that these busy bodies can decide whose lives are clean enough for that eminently clean atmosphere politics must had follow that saloonkeepers belong to the same category unless it be American hypocrisy and bigotry so manifest in the principle of prohibition which sanctions the spread of drunkenness among men and women of the rich class yet Teebs vigilant watch on the only place left to the poor man if no other reason woman's narrow and purest attitude toward life makes her a greater danger to Liberty wherever she has political power man has long overcome the superstitions that still engulf women in the economic competitive field man has been compelled to exercise efficiency judgment ability competency he therefore had neither time nor inclination to measure everyone's morality with a puritanic yardstick in his political activities – is not gone about blindfolded he knows that quantity and not quality is the material for the political grinding mill and unless he is a sentimental reformer or an old fossil he knows that politics can never be anything but a swamp women who are at all conversant with the process of politics know the nature of the beast but in their self-sufficiency and egotism they make themselves believe that they have but to pet the beast and he will become as gentle as a lamb sweet and pure as if women have not sold their votes as if women politicians cannot be bought if her body can be bought in return from material consideration why not her vote that it is being done in Colorado and in other states is not denied even by those in favor of women's suffrage as I have said before woman's narrow view of human affairs is not the only argument against her as a politician superior to man there are others where lifelong economic parasite ISM has utterly blurred her conception of the meaning of equality she clamors for equal rights with men yet we learned that few women care to canvas in undesirable districts a little equality means to them compared with the rush women who face Hell itself for their ideal woman demands the same rights as man yet she is indignant that her presence does not strike him dead he smokes keeps his hat on and does not jump from his seat like a flunky these may be trivial things but they are nevertheless the key to the nature of American suffragists to be sure their English sisters have outgrown these silly notions they have shown themselves equal to the greatest demands on their character and power of endurance all honored to the heroism and sturdiness of the English suffragettes thanks to their energetic aggressive methods they have proved an inspiration to some of our own lifeless and spineless ladies but after all the suffragettes too are still lacking an appreciation of real equality else how is one to account for the tremendous truly gigantic effort set in motion by those valiant fighters for a wretched little bill which will benefit a handful of propertied ladies with absolutely no provision for the vast mass of working women true as politicians they must be opportunists must take half measures if they cannot get all but as intelligent in Liberal women they ought to realize that if the ballot is a weapon the disinherited needed more than the economically superior class and that the latter already enjoyed too much power by virtue of their economic superiority the brilliant leader of the English suffragettes mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst herself admitted when on her American lecture tour that there can be no equality between political superiors and inferiors if so how will the working woman of England already inferior economically to the ladies who are benefited by the Shackleton bill be able to work with their political superior should the bill pass is it not probable that the class of any Keaney so full of zeal devotion and martyrdom will be compelled to carry on their backs there are female political bosses even as they are carrying their economic masters they would still have to do it where universal suffrage for men and women established in England no matter what the workers do they are made to pay always still those who believe in the power of the vote show little sense of justice when they concern themselves not at all with those whom as they claim it might serve most the American suffrage movement has been until very recently altogether a parlor affair absolutely detached from the economic needs of the people thus susan b anthony no doubt an exceptional type of woman was not only indifferent but antagonistic to labor nor did she hesitate to manifest her antagonism when in 1869 she advised women to take the places of striking printers in New York I do not know whether her attitude had changed before her death there are of course some suffragists who are affiliated with working women the women's trade union league for instance but they are a small minority and their activities are essentially economic the rest look upon toil as a just provision of providence what would become of the rich if not for the poor what would become of these idle parasitic ladies who squander more in a week than their victims earn in a year if not for the 80 million wage workers equality who ever heard of such a thing few countries have produced such arrogance and snobbishness as America particularly this is true of the American woman of the middle class she not only considers herself the equal of man but his superior especially in her purity goodness and morality small wonder that the Americans suffragists claims for her vote the most miraculous powers in her exalted conceit she does not see how truly in the slave she is not so much by man as by her own silly notions and traditions suffrage cannot ameliorate that sad fact it can only accentuate it as indeed it does one of the great American women leaders claims that woman is entitled not only to equal pay but that she ought to be legally entitled even to the pay of her husband failing to support her he should be put in convicts stripes in his earnings in prison be collected by his equal wife does not another brilliant exponent of the cause claim for a woman that her vote will abolish the social evil which has been fought in vain by the collective efforts of the most illustrious minds the world over it is indeed to be regretted that the alleged creator of the universe has already presented us with his wonderful scheme of things else woman suffrage would surely enable woman to outdo him completely nothing is so dangerous as the dissection of a fetish if we have outlived the time with such heresy was punishable at the stake we have not outlived the narrow spirit of condemnation of those who dare differ with accepted notions therefore I shall probably be put down as an opponent of woman but that cannot deter me from looking the questions squarely in the face I repeat what I have said in the beginning I do not believe that woman will make politics worse nor can I believe that she could make it better if then she cannot improve on man's mistakes why perpetuate the latter history may be a compilation of lies nevertheless it contains a few truths and they're the only guide we have for the future the history of the political activities of men proves that they have given him absolutely nothing that he could not have achieved in a more direct less costly and more lasting manner as a matter of fact every inch of ground he has gained has been through a constant fight a ceaseless struggle for self assertion and not through suffrage there is no reason whatever to assume that woman in her climb to emancipation has been or will be helped by the ballot in the darkest of all countries Russia with her absolute despotism woman has become man's equal not through the ballot but by her will to be and to do not only has she conquered for herself every avenue of learning and vocation but she has one man's esteem his respect his comradeship I even more than that she has gained the admiration the respect of the whole world that – not through suffrage but by her wonderful heroism her fortitude her ability willpower and her endurance in the struggle for liberty where are the women in any suffrage country or state that can lay claim to such a victory when we consider the accomplishments of women in America we find also that something deeper and more powerful than suffrage has helped her in the march to emancipation it is just 62 years ago since a handful of women at the Seneca Falls convention set forth a few demands for their right to equal education with men and access to the various professions trades etc what wonderful accomplishment what wonderful triumphs who but the most ignorant dare speak of woman as a mere domestic Drudge who dare suggest that this or that profession should not be open to her for over 60 years she has molded a new atmosphere and a new life for herself she had become a world power in every domain of human thought and activity and all that without suffrage without the right to make laws without the privilege of becoming a judge a jailer or an executioner yes I may be considered an enemy of woman but if I can help her see the light I shall not complain the misfortune of woman is not that she is unable to do the work of man but that she is wasting her life force to outdo him with a tradition of centuries which has left her physically incapable of keeping pace with him oh I know some have succeeded but at what cost at what terrific cost the import is not the kind of work woman does but rather the quality of the work she furnishes she can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality or development her freedom her independence must come from and through herself first by asserting herself as a personality and not as a sex commodity second by refusing the right to anyone over her body by refusing to bear children unless she wants them by refusing to be a servant to God the state society the husband the family etc by making her life simpler but deeper and richer that is by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities by freeing her from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation only that and not the ballot will set woman free will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world a force for real love for peace for harmony a force of divine fire of life-giving a creator of free men and women end of woman's suffrage recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine the tragedy of woman's emancipation from anarchism and other essays by Emma Goldman this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine the tragedy of woman's emancipation I begin with an admission regardless of all political and economic theories trading of the fundamental differences between various groups within the human race regardless of class and race distinctions regardless of all artificial boundary lines between woman's rights and man's rights I hold that there is a point where these differentiations may meet and grow into one perfect whole with this I do not mean to propose a peace treaty the general social antagonism which has taken hold of our entire public life today brought about through the force of opposing and contradictory interests will crumble to pieces when the reorganization of our social life based upon the principles of economic justice shall have become a reality peace or harmony between the sexes and individuals does not necessarily depend on a superficial equalization of human beings nor does it call for the elimination of individual traits and peculiarities the problem that confronts us today in which the nearest future is to solve is how to be oneself and yet in oneness with others to feel deeply with all human beings and still retain one's own characteristic qualities this seems to me to be the basis upon which the mass and the individual the true Democrat and the true individuality man and woman can meet without antagonism in opposition the motto should not be forgive one another rather understand one another the oft quoted sentence of Madame de Stael to understand everything means to forgive everything as never particularly appealed to me it has the odor of the confessional to forgive one's fellow being conveys the idea a pharisaical superiority to understand one's fellow being suffices the admission partly represents the fundamental aspect of my views on the emancipation of woman and its effect upon the entire sex emancipation should make it possible for a woman to be human in the truest sense everything within her that craves assertion and activity should reach its fullest expression all artificial barriers should be broken in the road towards greater freedom cleared of every trace of centuries of submission and slavery this was the original aim of the movement for women's emancipation but the results so far achieved have isolated woman and have robbed her of the fountain Springs of that happiness which is so essential to her merely external emancipation as maid of the modern woman an artificial being who reminds one of the products a friend arboriculture with its arabesque trees and shrubs pyramids wheels and wreaths anything except the forums which would be reached by the expression of her own inner qualities such artificially grown plants of the female sex are to be found in large numbers especially in the so called intellectual sphere of our life liberty and equality for woman what hopes and aspirations these words awakened when they were first uttered by some of the noblest and bravest souls of those days the Sun in all his light and glory was to rise upon a new world in this world woman was to be free to direct her own destiny and aims certainly worthy of the great enthusiasm courage perseverance and ceaseless effort of the tremendous host of pioneer men and women who staked everything against a world of prejudice and ignorance my hopes also move towards that goal but I hold that the emancipation of woman as interpreted and practically applied today has failed to reach that great end now woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation if she really desires to be free this may sound paradoxical but is nevertheless only too true what has she achieved through her emancipation equal suffrage in a few states as that purified our political life as many well-meaning advocates predicted certainly not incidentally it is really time that persons with plain sound judgment should cease to talk about corruption in politics in a boarding-school tone corruption of politics has nothing to do with the morals or the laxity of morals of various political personalities its cause is altogether a material one politics is the reflex of the business and industrial world the mottos of which are to take is more blessed than to give buy cheap and sell dr1 soiled hand washes the other there is no hope even that woman with her right to vote will ever purify politics emancipation has brought women economic equality with man that is she can choose her own profession and trade but as her past and present physical training is not equipped her with the necessary strength to compete with men she is often compelled to exhaust all her energy use up her vitality and strain every nerve in order to reach the market value very few ever succeed for it is a fact that women teachers doctors lawyers architects and engineers are neither met with the same confidence as their male colleagues nor receive equal remuneration and those that do reach that enticing equality generally do so at the expense of their physical and psychical well-being as to the great mass of working girls and women how much independence is gained if the narrowness and lack of freedom of the home is exchanged for the narrowness and lack of freedom of the factory sweatshop department store or office in addition is a burden which is laid on many when of looking after a home sweet home cold dreary disorderly uninviting after a day's hard work glorious independence no wonder that hundreds of girls are willing to accept the first offer of marriage sick and tired of their independence behind the counter at the sewing or typewriting machine they're just as ready to marry as girls of the middle class who longed to throw off the yoke of parental supremacy a so-called independence which leads only to earning the merest subsistence is not so enticing not so ideal that one could expect woman to sacrifice everything for it are highly praised independence is after all but a slow process of dulling and stifling woman's nature her love instinct and her mother instinct nevertheless the position of the working girl is far more natural and human than that of her seemingly more fortunate sister in the more cultured professional walks of life teachers physicians lawyers engineers etc who have to make a dignified proper appearance while the inner life is growing empty and dead the narrowness of the existing conception of woman's independence and emancipation the dread of love for a man who is not her social equal the fear that love will rob her of her freedom and independence the horror that love or the joy of motherhood will only hinder her in the full exercise of her profession all these together make of emancipated modern woman a compulsory Vestal before whom life with its great clarifying sorrows and its deep entrancing joys rolls on without touching or gripping her soul emancipation as understood by the majority of its adherents and exponents is of too narrow a scope to permit the boundless love and ecstasy contained in the deep emotion of the true woman sweetheart mother in freedom the tragedy of the self-supporting or economically free woman does not lie in too many but in too few experiences true she surpasses her sister of past generations in knowledge of the world in human nature it is just because of this that she feels deeply the lack of life's essence which alone can enrich the human soul and without which the majority of women have become mere professional automatons that such a state of affairs was bound to come was foreseen by those who realized that in the domain of ethics there still remained many decaying ruins of the time of the undisputed superiority of man ruins that are still considered useful and what is more important a goodly number of emancipated are unable to get along without them every movement that aims at the destruction of existing institutions and the replacement thereof with something more advanced more perfect as followers who in theory stand for the most radical ideas but who nevertheless in their everyday practice are like the average Philistine feigning respectability and clamoring for the good opinion of their opponents there are for example socialists and even anarchists who stand for the idea that property is robbery yet who will grow indignant if any one o them the value of a half-dozen pins the same Philistine can be found in the movement from women's emancipation yellow journalists and milk and water literate ORS have painted pictures of the emancipated woman that make the hair of the good citizen and his dull companions stand up on end every member of the woman's rights movement was pictured as a Jewish saundh in her absolute disregard of morality nothing was sacred to her she had no respect for the ideal relation between man and woman in short emancipation stood only for a reckless life of lust and sin regardless of society religion and morality the exponents of women's rights were highly indignant at such representation and lacking humor they exerted all their energy to prove that they were not at all as bad as they were painted but the very reverse of course as long as woman was a slave of man she could not be good and pure but now that she was free and independent she would prove how good she could be and that her influence would have a purifying effect on all instead tutions in society true the movement for women's rights has broken many old fetters but it has also forged new ones the great movement of true emancipation has not met with a great race of women who could look liberty in the face their narrow puritanical vision banished man as a disturber and doubtful character out of their emotional life man was not to be tolerated at any price except perhaps as the father of a child since a child could not very well come to life without a father fortunately the most rigid Puritans never will be strong enough to kill the in a craving for motherhood a woman's freedom is closely aligned with man's freedom and many of my so-called emancipated sisters seemed to overlook the fact that a child born in freedom needs the love and devotion of each human being about him man as well as woman unfortunately it is this narrow conception of human relations that has brought about a great tragedy in the lives of the modern man and woman about 15 years ago appear to work from the pen of the brilliant Norwegian Lorimar home called woman a character study she was one of the first to call attention to the emptiness and narrowness of the existing conception of woman's emancipation and his tragic effect upon the inner life of woman in her work Lorimar home speaks of the fate of several gifted women of international fame the genius Eleonora Duse the great mathematician and writer sonia kovalevskaya the artist and poet nature marie bosch kiev who died so young through each description of the lives of these women of such extraordinary mentality runs a marked trail of unsatisfied craving for a full rounded complete and beautiful life in the unrest and loneliness resulting from the lack of it through these masterly psychological sketches one cannot help but see that the higher the mental development of woman the less possible it is for her to meet a congenial mate who will see in her not only sex but also the human being the friend the comrade and strong individuality who cannot and ought not lose a single tear her character the average man with his self-sufficiency is ridiculously superior errors of patronage towards the female sex is an impossibility for woman as depicted in the character study by Lorimar home equally impossible for her is the man who can see in her nothing more than her mentality and her genius and who fails to awaken her woman nature a rich intellect and a fine soul are usually considered necessary attributes of a deep and beautiful personality in the case of the modern woman these attributes serve as a hindrance to the complete assertion of her being for over a hundred years the old form of marriage based on the Bible till death doth part has been denounced as an institution that stands for the sovereignty of the man over the woman of her complete submission to his whims and commands and absolute dependence on his name and support time and again it has been conclusively proved that the old matrimonial relation restricted woman to the function of a man's turbine and the bearer of his children and yet we find many emancipated women who prefer marriage with all its deficiencies to the narrowness of an unmarried life narrow and unendurable because of the chains of moral and social prejudice that cramp and bind her nature the explanation of such inconsistency on the part of many advanced women is to be found in the fact that they never truly understood the meaning of emancipation they thought that all that was needed was independence from external tyrannies the internal tyrants far more harmful to life and growth ethical and social conventions were left to take care of themselves and they have taken care of themselves they seem to get along as beautifully in the heads and hearts of the most active exponents of women's emancipation as in the heads and hearts of our grandmothers these internal tyrants whether they be in the form of public opinion or what will mother say or brother father aunt or relative of any sort what will mrs. Grundy mr. Comstock the employer the Board of Education say all these busybodies moral detectives jailers of the human sphere what will they say until woman has learned to defy them all to stand firmly on her own ground and to insist upon her own unrestricted freedom to listen to the voice of her nature whether it call for life's greatest treasure love for a man or her most glorious privilege the right to give birth to a child she cannot call herself emancipated a mini emancipated women are brave enough to acknowledge that the voice of love is calling wildly beating against their breasts demanding to be heard to be satisfied the French writer Jean Rui Bach in one of his novels new Beauty attempts to picture the ideal beautiful emancipated woman this ideal is embodied in a young girl a physician she talks very cleverly and wisely of how to feed infants she is kind and administers medicines free to poor mothers she converses with a young man of her acquaintance about the sanitary conditions of the future and how various Bosch Ally and germs shall be exterminated by the use of stone walls and floors and by the doing away with rugs and hangings she is of course very plainly and practically dressed mostly in black the young man who at their first meeting was overawed by the wisdom of his emancipated friend gradually learns to understand her and recognizes one fine day that he loves her they are young and she is kind and beautiful and though always in rigid attire her appearance is softened by a spotlessly clean white collar and cuffs one would expect that he would tell her of his love but he is not one to commit romantic absurdities poetry in the enthusiasm of love covered their blushing faces before the pure beauty of the lady he silences the voice of his nature and remains correct she too is always exact always rational always well-behaved I fear if they had formed the Union the young man would have risked freezing to death I must confess that I can see nothing beautiful in this new beauty who is as cold as a stone walls and floor she dreams of rather would I have the love songs of romantic ages rather don juan and madame venus rather an elopement by ladder and row on a moonlight night followed by the father's curse mothers moans and the moral comments of neighbors then correctness and propriety measured by yardsticks if love does not know how to give and take without restrictions it is not love but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus the greatest shortcoming of the emancipation of the present day lies in its artificial stiffness and it's narrow respect abilities which produce an emptiness in woman's soul that will not let her drink from the Fountain of Life I once remarked that there seemed to be a deeper relationship between the old-fashioned mother and hostess ever on the alert for the happiness of her little ones and the comfort of those she loved and the truly new woman then between the latter and her average emancipated sister the disciples of emancipation pure and simple declared me a heathen fit only for the stake they're blind zeal did not let them see that my comparison between the old and the new was merely to prove that a goodly number of our grandmothers had more blood in their veins far more humor and wit and certainly a greater amount of naturalness kindheartedness and simplicity than the majority of our emancipated professional women who filled the colleges halls of learning in various offices this does not mean a wish to return to the past nor does it condemn woman to her old sphere the kitchen and the nursery salvation lies in an energetic March onward towards a brighter and clearer future we are in need of unhampered growth out of old traditions and habits the movement for women's emancipation as so far made but the first step in that direction it is to be hoped that it will gather strength to make another the right to vote or equal civil rights may be good demands but true emancipation begins neither at the poles nor in courts it begins in woman's soul history tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its Masters through its own efforts it is necessary that women learned that lesson that she realized that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches it is therefore far more important for to begin with her inner regeneration to cut loose from the way to prejudices traditions and customs the demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair but after all the most vital right is the right to love and be loved indeed if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman it will have to do away with a ridiculous notion that to be loved to be sweetheart and mother is synonymous with being slave or subordinate it will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds pettiness separates breadth unites let us be broad and big let us not overlook vital things because of the bulk of trifles confronting us a true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit of Conqueror and conquered it knows abut one great thing to give a oneself boundlessly in order to find oneself richer deeper better that alone can fill the emptiness and transform the tragedy of women's emancipation into joy limitless joy and of the tragedy of women's emancipation recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine marriage and love from anarchism and other essays by Emma Goldman this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine marriage and love the popular notion about marriage and love is that they are synonymous that they spring from the same motives and cover the same human needs like most popular notions this also rests not on actual facts but on superstition marriage and love have nothing in common they are as far apart as the polls are in fact antagonistic to each other no doubt some marriages have been the result of love not however because love could assert itself only in marriage much rather is it because few people can completely outgrow a convention there are today large numbers of men and women to whom marriage is not but a farce but who submit to it for the sake of public opinion at any rate while it is true that some marriages are based on love and while it is equally true that in some cases love continues in married life I maintain that it does so regardless of marriage and not because of it on the other hand it is utterly false that love results from marriage on rare occasions one does hear of a miraculous case of a married couple falling in love after marriage but on close examination it will be found that it is a mere adjustment to the inevitable certainly the growing use to each other is far away from the spontaneity the intensity and beauty of love without which the intimacy of marriage must prove degrading to both the woman and the man marriage is primarily an economic arrangement and insurance pact it differs from the ordinary life insurance agreement only in that it is more binding more exacting its returns are in significantly small compared with the investments in taking out an insurance policy one pays for it in dollars and cents always at liberty to discontinue payments if however woman's premium is her husband she pays for it with her name her privacy her self-respect her very life until death tough car moreover the marriage insurance condemns her to lifelong dependency to parasite ISM to complete uselessness individual as well as social man to pays his toll but as his sphere is wider marriage does not limit him as much as woman he feels his change more in an economic sense thus Dante's motto over Inferno applies with equal force to marriage ye who enter here leave all hope behind that marriage is a failure none but the very stupid will deny one has but to glance over the statistics of divorce to realize how bitter a failure marriage really is nor will the stereotyped Philistine argument that the laxity of divorce laws and the growing looseness of woman account for the fact that first every 12th marriage ends in divorce second that since 1870 divorces have increased from 28 to 73 for every hundred thousand population third that adultery since 1867 as ground for divorce has increased two hundred seventy point eight percent forth that desertion increased three hundred sixty nine point eight percent added to these startling figures is a vast amount of material dramatic in literary further elucidating this subject Robert Herrick in together Pinero in mid-channel Eugene Walter in paid-in-full and scores of other writers are discussing the Baroness the monotony the sordidness the inadequacy of marriage as a factor for harmony and understanding the thoughtful social student will not content himself with a popular superficial excuse for this phenomenon he will have to dig deeper into the very life of the sexes to know why marriage proves so disastrous Edward carpenter says that behind every marriage stands the lifelong environment of the two sexes an environment so different from each other the man and woman must remain strangers separated by an insurmountable wall superstition custom inhabit marriage has not the potentiality of developing knowledge of and respect for each other without which every union is doomed to failure Henrik Ibsen the hater of all social Shams was probably the first to realize this great truth Nora leaves her husband not as the stupid critic would have it because she is tired of her responsibilities or feels the need of woman's rights but because she has come to know that for eight years she had lived with a stranger and borne him children can there be anything more humiliating more degrading than a lifelong proximity between two strangers no need for the woman to know anything of the man save his income as to the knowledge of the woman what is there to know except as she has a pleasing appearance we have not yet outgrown the theologic myth the woman has no soul that she is a mere Appendix two man made out of his rib just for the convenience of the gentleman who was so strong that he was afraid of his own shadow for a chance the poor quality of the material whence woman comes is responsible for her inferiority at any rate woman has no soul what is there to know about her besides the less soul of woman has the greater her asset as a wife the more readily will she absorb herself in her husband it is this slavish acquiescence to man's superiority that has kept a marriage institution seemingly intact for so long a period now that woman is coming into her own now that she is actually growing aware of herself as being outside of the Masters grace the sacred institution of marriage is gradually being undermined and no amount of sentimental lamentation can stay it from infancy almost the average girl is told that marriage is her ultimate goal therefore her training and education must be directed towards that end like the mute beasts fattened for slaughter she is prepared for that yet strange to say she is allowed to know much less about her function as wife and mother than the ordinary artisan of his trade it is indecent and filthy for a respectable girl to know anything of the marital relation Oh for the inconsistency of respectability that needs the marriage vow to turn something which is filthy into the purest and most sacred arrangement the nun dare question or criticized it that is exactly the attitude of the average upholder of marriage the prospective wife and mother is kept in complete ignorance of her only asset in the competitive field sex unless she enters into lifelong relations with a man only to find herself shocked repelled outraged beyond measure by the most natural and healthy instinct sex it is safe to say that a large percentage of the unhappiness misery distress and physical suffering of matrimony is due to the criminal ignorant sin sex matters that is being extolled as a great virtue nor is it at all in exaggeration when I say that more than one home has been broken up because of this deplorable fact if however woman is free and big enough to learn the mystery of sex without the sanction of state or Church she will stand condemned as utterly unfit to become the wife of a good man is goodness consisting of an empty brain and plenty of money can there be anything more outrageous than the idea that a healthy grown woman full of life and passion must be nine nature's demand must subdue her most intense craving undermined her health and break her spirit must stunt her vision abstained from the depth and glory of sex experience until a good man comes along to take her unto himself as a wife that is precisely what marriage means how can such an arrangement end except in failure this is one though not the least important factor of marriage which differentiates it from love ours is a practical age the time when Romeo and Juliet risk the wrath of their fathers for love when Gretchen exposed herself to the gossip of her neighbors for love is no more if on rare occasions young people allow themselves the luxury of romance they are taken in care by the elders drilled and pounded until they become sensible the moral lesson instilled in the girl the moral lesson instilled in the girl is not whether the man has aroused her love but rather is it how much the important in only God a practical American life can the man make a living can he support a wife that is the only thing that justifies marriage gradually this saturates every thought of the girl her dreams are not of moonlight and kisses of laughter and tears she dreams of shopping tours and bargain counters this soul poverty and sordidness are the elements inherent in the marriage institution the state ensure to prove of no other ideal simply because it is the one that necessitates the state and church control of men and women doubtless there are people who continue to consider love above dollars and cents particularly this is true of that class the economic necessity is forced to become self-supporting the tremendous change in woman's position wrought by that mighty factor is indeed phenomenal when we reflect that it is but a short time since she has entered the industrial arena six million women wage workers six million women who have equal right with men to be exploited to be robbed to go on strike aye to starve even anything more my lord yes six million wage workers in every walk of life from the highest brainwork to the mines and railroad tracks yes even detectives and policemen surely the Emancipation is complete yet with all that but a very small number of the vast army of women wage workers look upon work as a permanent issue in the same light as does man no matter how decrepit the ladder he has been taught to be independent self-supporting oh I know that no one is really independent in our economic treadmill still the poorest specimen of a man hates to be a parasite to be known as such at any rate woman considers her position as worker transitory to be thrown aside for the first bidder that is why it is infinitely harder to organize women than men why should I join a union I'm going to get married to have a home as she not been taught from infancy to look upon that as her ultimate calling she learned soon enough at the home though not so large a prison as the factory as more solid doors and bars it has a keeper so faithful that naught can escape him the most tragic part however is that the home no longer frees her from wage slavery it only increases her task according to the latest statistics submitted before a committee on labor and wages and congestion of population ten percent of the wage workers in New York City alone are married yet they must continue to work at the most poorly paid labor in the world add to this horrible aspect the drudgery of housework in what remains of the protection and glory of the home as a matter of fact even the middle-class girl in marriage cannot speak of her home since it is the man who creates her sphere it is not important whether the husband is a brute or a darling but I wish to prove is that marriage guarantees woman a home only by the grace of her husband there she moves about in his home year after year until her aspect of life and human affairs becomes as flat narrow and drab as her surroundings small wonder if she becomes a nagged petty quarrelsome gossipy unbearable thus driving the man from the house she could not go if she wanted to there is no place to go besides a short period of married life of complete surrender of all faculties absolutely incapacitates the average woman for the outside world she becomes reckless and appearance clumsy and her movements dependent in her decisions cowardly in her judgment a weight and a bore which most men grow to hate and despise wonderfully inspiring atmosphere for the bearing of life is it not but the child how is it to be protected if not for marriage after all is not that the most important consideration the sham the hypocrisy of it marriage protecting the child yet thousands of children destitute and homeless marriage protecting the child yet orphan asylums and reformatories overcrowded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children keeping busy in rescuing the little victims from loving parents to place him under more loving care the Jarry society oh the mockery of it marriage may have the power to bring the horse to water but has it ever made him drink the law will place the father under arrest and put him in convicts clothes but has that ever stilled the hunger of the child if the parent has no work or if he hides his identity what does marriage do then it invokes the law to bring the man to justice to put him safely behind closed doors is labor however goes not to the child but to the state the child receives but a blighted memory of his father stripes as to the protection of the woman therein lies the curse of marriage not that it really protects her but the very idea is so revolting such an outrage an insult on life so degrading to human dignity as to forever condemn this parasitic institution it is like that other paternal arrangement capitalism it robs man of his birthright stunts his growth poisons his body keeps him in ignorance and poverty and dependence and then Institute's charities that thrive on the last vestige of man's self-respect the institution of marriage makes a parasite of woman in absolute dependent it incapacitate her for life struggle annihilates her social consciousness paralyzes her imagination and then imposes its gracious protection which is in reality a snare a travesty on human character if motherhood is the highest fulfillment of woman's nature what other protection doesn't need save love and freedom marriage but defiles outrage and corrupts her fulfillment does it not say to a woman only when you follow me shall you bring forth life does it not condemn her to the block does it not degrade and shame her if she refuses to by her right to motherhood by selling herself does not marriage only sanction motherhood even though conceived in hatred in compulsion yet if motherhood be a free choice of love of ecstasy of defiant passion does it not place a crown of thorns upon an innocent head and carving letters of blood the hideous epithet bastard were marriage to contain all the virtues claimed for it its crimes against motherhood would exclude it forever from the realm of love love the strongest and deepest element in all life the harbinger of hope of joy of ecstasy love the desire of all laws of all conventions love the freest the most powerful molder of human destiny how can such an all compelling force be synonymous with that poor little state and Church begotten weed marriage free love as if love is anything but free man has bought brains but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love man has subdued bodies but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love man has conquered whole Nations but all his armies could not conquer love man has chained and fettered the spirit but he has been utterly helpless before long high on a throne with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command man is yet poor and desolate if love passes him by and if it stays the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth with life and color thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king yes love is free it can dwell in no other atmosphere in freedom it gives itself unreservedly abundantly completely all the laws on the statutes all the courts in the universe cannot tear it from the soil once love has taken root if however the soil is sterile how can marriage make it bear fruit it is like the last desperate struggle of fleeting life against death love needs no protection it is its own protection so long as love begets life no child is deserted or hungry or famished for the want of affection I know this to be true I know women who became mothers in freedom by the men they love few children in wedlock enjoy the care the protection the devotion free motherhood is capable of bestowing the defenders of authority dread the advent of a free motherhood lest it will rob them of their prey who would fight wars who would create wealth who would make the policeman the jailer if woman were to refuse the indiscriminate breeding of children the race the race shells the king the president the capitalist the priest the race must be preserved the woman be degraded to a mere machine and the marriage institution is our only safety valve against a pernicious sex awakening of woman but in vain these frantic efforts to maintain a state of bondage in vain to the edicts of the church the mad attacks of rulers in vain even the arm of the law woman no longer wants to be a party to the production of a race of sickly feeble decrepit wretched human beings who have neither the strength nor moral courage to throw off the yoke of poverty and slavery instead she desires fewer and better children begotten and reared in love and through free choice not by compulsion as marriage imposes our pseudo moralists have yet to learn the deep sense of responsibility toward the child that love and freedom has awakened in the breast of woman rather would she forgo forever the glory of motherhood then bring forth life in an atmosphere that breathes only destruction and death and if she does become a mother it is to give to the child the deepest and best for being can yield to grow with the child is her motto she knows that in that manner alone can she help build true manhood and womanhood insin must have had a vision of a free mother when with a masterstroke he portrayed mrs. Alvin she was the ideal mother because she had outgrown marriage in all its horrors because she had broken her chains and set her spirit free to soar until it returned a personality regenerated and strong alas it was too late to rescue her life's joy her Oswald but it was not too late to realize that love and freedom is the only condition of a beautiful life those who like mrs. Alvin have paid with blood and tears for their spiritual awakening repudiate marriage as an imposition a shallow empty mockery they know whether love lasts but one brief span of time or for eternity it is the only creative inspiring elevating basis for a new race a new world in our present pygmy state love is indeed a stranger to most people misunderstood and shunned it rarely takes root or if it does it soon withers and dies it's delicate fiber cannot endure the stress and strain of the daily grind its soul is too complex to adjust itself to the slimy wolf of our social fabric it weeps and moans and suffers with those who have need of it yet lack the capacity to rise to love summit someday someday men and women will rise they will reach the mountain peak they will meet big and strong and free ready to receive to partake and to bask in the golden rays of love what fancy what imagination what poetic genius can foresee even approximately the potentialities of such a force in the life of men and women if the world is ever to give birth to true companionship and oneness not marriage but love will be the parent end of marriage and love recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine the modern drama part one from anarchism and other essays by Emma Goldman this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine the modern drama a powerful disseminator of radical thought part 1 so long as discontent and unrest make themselves but dumbly felt within a limited social class the powers of reaction may often succeed in suppressing such manifestations but when the dumb unrest grows into conscious expression and becomes almost universal it necessarily affects all phases of human thought and action and seeks its individual and social expression in the gradual transvaluation of existing values an adequate appreciation of the tremendous spread of the modern conscious social unrest cannot be gained from merely propagandistic literature rather must we become conversant with the larger phases of human expression manifest in art literature and above all the modern drama the strongest and most far-reaching interpreter of our deep felt dissatisfaction what a tremendous factor were the awakening of conscious discontent are the simple canvases of a Malay the figures of his peasants what terrific indictments against our social wrongs wrongs that condemn the man with the hoe to hopeless drudgery himself excluded from nature's bounty the vision of a mini a conceives the growing solidarity and defiance of labour in the group of miners carrying their main brother to safety is genius thus powerfully portrays the interrelation of the seething unrest among those slaving in the bowels of the earth and the spiritual revolt that seeks artistic expression no less important is the factor for rebellious awakening in modern literature Turgenev Dostoevsky Tolstoy Andreev Gorky Whitman Emerson and scores of others embodying the spirit of universal ferment in the longing for social change still more far-reaching as the modern drama as the leaven of radical thought in the disseminator of new values it might seem an exaggeration to ascribe to the modern drama such an important role but a study of the development of modern ideas in most countries will prove that the drama has succeeded in driving home great social truths truths generally ignored when presented in other forms no doubt there are exceptions as Russia and France Russia with its terrible political pressure as made people think and has awakened their social sympathies because of the tremendous contrast which exists between the intellectual life of the people and the despotic regime that is trying to crush that life yet while the great dramatic works of Tolstoy Chekhov Gorky and Andreev closely mirrored the life in the struggle the hopes and aspirations of the Russian people they did not influence radical thought to the extent that drama has done in other countries who can deny however the tremendous influence exerted by the power of darkness or night lodging Tolstoy the real true Christian is yet the greatest enemy of organized Christianity with a master hand he portrays the destructive effects upon the human mind of the power of darkness the superstitions of the Christian Church what other medium could Express with such dramatic force the responsibility of the church for crimes committed by his deluded victims what other medium could in consequence rouse the indignation of man's conscience similarly direct and powerful is the indictment contained in Gorky's night lodging the social pariahs forced into poverty and crime yet desperately clutch at the last vestiges of hope and aspiration lost existences these blighted and crushed by cruel unsocial environment France on the other hand with her continuous struggle for liberty is indeed the cradle of radical thought as such she too did not need the drama as a means of awakening and yet the works of brew as ro brugge portraying the terrible corruption of the judiciary and mere bows less affair son des Affair picturing the destructive influence of wealth on the human soul have undoubtedly reached wider circles than most of the articles and books which have been written in France on the social question in countries like Germany Scandinavia England and even in America though in a lesser degree the drama is the vehicle which is really making history disseminating radical thought in ranks not otherwise to be reached let us take Germany for instance for nearly a quarter of a century men of brains of ideas and of the greatest integrity made it our life work to spread the truth of human Brotherhood of justice among the oppressed in downtrodden socialism that tremendous revolutionary wave was to the victims of a merciless and inhumane system like water to the parched lips of the desert traveler alas the cultured people remained absolutely indifferent to them that revolutionary tide was but the murmur of dissatisfied discontented men dangerous illiterate troublemakers this proper place was behind prison bars self-satisfied as the cultured usually are they could not understand why one should fuss about the fact that thousands of people were starving though they contributed towards the wealth of the world surrounded by beauty and luxury they could not believe that side by side with them lived human beings degraded to a position lower than a beasts shelterless and ragged without hope or ambition this condition of affairs was particularly pronounced in Germany after the Franco Prussian war full to the bursting point with its victory Germany thrived on a sentimental patriotic literature thereby poisoning the minds of the country's youth by the glory of conquest and bloodshed intellectual Germany had to take refuge in the literature of other countries in the works of absence oh la da de Maupassant and especially in the great work to Dostoevsky Tolstoy and Turgenev but as no country can long maintain a standard of culture without a literature and drama related to its own soil so Germany gradually began to develop a drama reflecting the life and the struggles of its own people are no hopes one of the youngest dramatists of that period startled the Philistines out of their ease and comfort with his Familia zelicah the play deals with society's refuse men in women of the alleys there's only subsistence consists of what they can pick out of the garbage barrows a gruesome subject is it not and yet what other method is there to break through the hard shell of the minds and souls of people who have never known want and who therefore assume that all is well in the world needless to say the play around tremendous indignation the truth is bitter in the people living on the fifth avenue of Berlin hated to be confronted with the truth not that familiar zelicah represented anything that had not been written about for years without any seeming result but the dramatic genius of Holtz together with a powerful interpretation of the play necessarily made inroads into the widest circles and fourth people to think about the terrible inequalities around them zu durman's era and heimet deal with vital subjects i've already referred to the sentimental patriotism so completely turning the head of the average German as to create a perverted conception of Honor dueling became an everyday affair costing innumerable lives a great cry was raised against the fad by a number of leading writers but nothing acted as such a clarifier and exposure of that national disease as the Anna not that the play merely deals with dueling it analyzes the real meaning of Honor proving that it is not a fixed inborn feeling but that it varies with every people in every epoch depending particularly on one's economic and social station in light we realize from this play that the man in the brownstone mansion will necessarily define honor differently from his victims the family Heinicke enjoys a charity of the millionaire muling being permitted to occupy a dilapidated shanty on his premises in the absence of their son Robert the latter as Mullings representative as making a vast fortune for his employer in India on his return Robert discovered that his sister had been seduced by young ruling whose father graciously offers to straighten matters with a cheque for forty thousand marks Robert outraged an indignant resents the insult to his family's honor and his forthwith dismissed from his position for impudence Robert finally throws this accusation into the face of the philanthropist millionaire we slave for you we sacrifice our hearts blood for you while you seduce our daughters and sisters and kindly pay for their disgrace with the gold we have earned for you that is what you call honor an incidental side light upon the conception of Honor is given by count Trust the principal character in the era a man widely conversant with the customs of various climes who relates that in his many travels he chanced to cross a savage tribe whose honour he mortally offended by refusing the hospitality which offered him the charms of the Chieftains wife the theme of hi MA treats of the struggle between the old and the young generations it holds a permanent and important place in dramatic literature Magda the daughter of lieutenant colonel Schwartz has committed an unpardonable sin she refused the suitor selected by her father for daring to disobey the parental commands she is driven from home Magda full of life in the spirit of Liberty goes out into the world to return to her native town twelve years later a celebrated singer she consents to visit her parents on condition that they respect the privacy of her past but her martinet father immediately begins to question her insisting on his paternal rights Magda is indignant but gradually his persistent brings to light the tragedy of her life he learns at the respected counselor from Keller and in his student days been Magda's lover while she was battling for her economic and social independence the consequence of the fleeting romance was a child deserted by the man even before birth the rigid military father of Magda demands as retribution from councillor from Keller that he legalized the love affair in view of Magda social and professional success Keller willingly consents but on condition that she forsake the stage and placed a child in an institution the struggle between the old and the new culminates in Magda's defiant words of the woman grown to conscious independence of thought in action I'll say what I think of you of you in your respectable society why should I be worse than you that I must prolong my existence among you by a lie why should this gold upon my body and the luster which surrounds my name only increased my infamy it might not work early in late for ten long years if I not woven this dress with sleepless nights if I not built up my career step by step like thousands of my kind why should I blush before anyone I am myself and through myself I have become what I am the general theme of high ma was not original it had been previously treated by a master hand and fathers and sons partly because turgon yes great work was typical rather of Russian than universal conditions and still more because it was in the form of fiction the influence of fathers and sons was limited to Russia but Hema especially because of its dramatic expression became almost a world factor the dramatist who not only disseminated radicalism but literally revolutionized the thoughtful Germans as Gerhart Hauptmann his first play for zonin Alf Gong refused by every leading German theater and first performed in a wretched little play house behind a beer garden acted like a stroke of lightning illuminating the entire social horizon its subject matter deals with the life of an extensive landowner ignorant illiterate and brutalized in his economic slaves of the same mental caliber the influence of wealth both on the victims who created it and the possessor thereof is shown in the most vivid colors as resulting in drunkenness idiocy and decay but the most striking feature of four-zone and Afghan the one which brought a shower of abuse on help man's head was the question as to the indiscriminate breeding of children by unfit parents during the second performance of the play a leading Berlin surgeon almost caused a panic in the theatre by swinging a pair of forceps over his head and screaming at the top of his voice the decency and morality of Germany are at stake if childbirth is to be discussed openly from the stage the surgeon is forgotten and helped man stands a class of figure before the world Wendy Weber first saw the light pandemonium broke out in the land of thinkers and poets what cried the moralist working men dirty filthy slaves to be put on the stage poverty and all its horrors and ugliness to be dished out as an after-dinner amusement that is too much indeed it was too much for the fat and greasy bourgeoisie to be brought face to face with the horrors of the weavers existence it was too much because of the truth in reality that rang like thunder and the deaf ears of self-satisfied society jacooz of course it was generally known even before the appearance of this drama the capital cannot get fat unless it devours labour that wealth cannot be hoarded except through the channels of poverty hunger and cold but such things are better kept in the dark lest the victims awaken to a realization of their position but it is the purpose of the modern drama to rouse the consciousness of the oppressed and that indeed was the purpose of Gerhart Hauptmann in depicting to the world the conditions of The Weavers in Silesia human beings working 18 hours daily yet not earning enough for bread and fuel human beings living in broken wretched huts half covered with snow in nothing but tatters to protect them from the cold infants covered with scurvy from hunger and exposure pregnant women in the last stages of consumption victims of a benevolent Christian era without life without hope without warmth ah yes it was too much help Mons dramatic versatility deals with every stratum of social life besides portraying the grinding effect of economic conditions he also treats of the struggle of the individual for his mental and spiritual liberation from the slavery of convention and tradition thus Heinrich the Bell forger in the dramatic prose poem d'affaires une connect Luca fails to reach the mountain peaks of Liberty because as Elton Deline said he had lived in the valley too long similarly dr. folk araf and an amar remain lonely souls because they too lacked the strength to defy venerated traditions yet they're very failure must awaken the rebellious spirit against a world forever hindering individual in social emancipation MOX Alba Uganda and vendor kings and Vatican's frühling Zaire valcon our dramas which have disseminated radical thought in an altogether different direction they treated the child and the dense ignorant and narrow Puritanism that meet the awakening of nature particularly this is true of rulings Avakian young boys and girls sacrificed on the altar of false education in d'Ivoire sickening morality that prohibits the enlightenment of youth as to questions so imperative to the health and well-being of society the origin of life in its functions it shows how a mother and a truly good mother at that keeps her 14 year old daughter in absolute ignorance as to all matters of sex and when finally the young girl falls a victim to her own ignorance the same mother sees her daughter killed by quack medicines the inscription on her grave states that she died of anaemia and morality is satisfied the fatality of our Puritan hypocrisy in these matters is especially illumined by Vedic in in so far as our most promising children fall victims to sex ignorance in the utter lack of appreciation on the part of the teachers of the child's awakening then 'la unusually developed an alert for her age pleads with her mother to explain the mystery of life I have a sister who has been married for two and a half years I myself had been made an aunt for the third time and I haven't the least idea how it all comes about don't be cross mother dear whom in the world should I ask but you don't scold me for asking about it give me an answer how does it happen you cannot really deceive yourself that I Who am fourteen years old still believe in the stork or her mother herself not a victim of false notions of morality and affectionate insensible explanation might have saved her daughter but the conventional mother seeks to hide her moral shame and embarrassment in this evasive reply in order to have a child one must love the man to whom one is married one must love him then 'la as you at your age are still unable to love now you know it how much ven Lanoue the mother realized too late the pregnant girl imagines herself ill with dropsy and when her mother cries in desperation you have the drop see you have a child girl the agonized Wendla exclaims in bewilderment but it's not possible mother I am not married yet Oh mother why didn't you tell me everything with equal stupidity the boy Morris is driven to suicide because he fails in his school examinations and Melchior the youthful father of endless unborn child is sent to the house of correction his early sexual awakening stamping him a degenerate in the eyes of teachers and parents for years thoughtful men and women in Germany had advocated the compelling necessity of sex enlightenment motor shoots a publication specially devoted to Frank an intelligent discussion of the sex problem has been carrying on its agitation for a considerable time but it remained for the dramatic genius of Vedic in to influence radical thought to the extent of forcing the introduction of sex physiology in many schools of Germany Scandinavia like Germany was advanced through the drama much more than through any other channel long before ittsan appeared on the scene bjornsen the great essayist thundered against the inequalities injustice prevalent in those countries but his was a voice in the wilderness reaching but the few not so with Ibsen his brand doll's house pillars of society ghosts and an enemy of the people have considerably undermined the old conceptions and replaced them by a modern and real view of life one has but to read brand to realize the modern conception let us say of religion religion as an ideal to be achieved on earth religion as a principle of human Brotherhood of solidarity and kindness ittsan the supreme hater of all social shams has torn the veil of hypocrisy from their faces his greatest onslaught however is on the four cardinal points supporting the flimsy network of society first the lie upon which rests the life of today second the futility of sacrifice as preached by our moral codes third petty material consideration which is the only God the majority worships and fourth the deadening influence of provincialism these four recur as the late motif in absence plays but particularly in pillars of society dholes house ghost and an enemy of the people pillars of society what a tremendous indictment against the social structure that rests on rotten and decayed pillars pillars nicely gilded and apparently intact yet merely hiding their true condition in what are these pillars council burnick at the very height of his social and financial career the benefit of his town in the strongest pillar of the community has reached the summit through the channel of lies Sep ssin and fraud he has robbed his bosom friend johan of his good name and has betrayed Lona hessel the woman he loved to marry her stepsister for the sake of her money he is enriched himself by shady transactions under cover of the community's good and finally even goes to the extent of endangering human life by preparing the Indian girl a rotten and dangerous vessel to go to sea but the return of Lona brings him the realization of the emptiness and meanness of his narrow life he seeks to placate the waking conscience by the hope that he has cleared the ground for the better life of his son of the new generation but even this last hope soon falls to the ground as he realizes that truth cannot be built on a lie at the very moment when the whole town is prepared to celebrate the great benefactor of the community with banquet praise he himself now grown to full spiritual manhood confesses to the assembled townspeople I have no right to this homage my fellow citizens must know me to the core then let everyone examine himself and let us realize the prediction that from this event we begin a new time the old with its tinsel its hypocrisy its hollowness it's lying propriety and his pitiful cowardice shall lie behind us like a museum open for instruction with a doll's house epson has paved the way from women's emancipation Nora awakens from her dolls role to the realization of the injustice done her by her father and her husband Elmer Torvalds when I was at home with father he used to tell me all his opinions and I held the same opinions if I had others I concealed them because he would not have approved he used to call me his dull child and play with me as I played with my dolls then I came to live in your house you settled everything according to your taste and I got the same taste as you or I pretended to when I look back on it now I seem to have been living like a beggar from hand mouths I'd lived by performing tricks for you Torvald but you would have it so you and father have done me a great wrong in vain helmer uses the old Philistine arguments of wifely duty and social obligations Nora has grown out of her dolls dress into full stature of conscious womanhood she has determined to think and judge for herself she has realized that before all else she is a human being owing the first duty to herself she is undaunted even by the possibility of social ostracism she has become skeptical of the Justice of the law the wisdom of the constituted her rebelling soul rises in protest against the existing in her own words I must make up my mind which is Right society or I in her childlike faith and her husband she had hoped for the great miracle but it was not the disappointed hope that opened her vision to the falsehoods of marriage it was rather the smug contentment of Helmer with a safe lie one that would remain hidden and not endanger his social standing when Nora closed behind her the door of her gilded cage and went out into the world the new regenerated personality she opened the gate of freedom and truth for her own sex and the race to come more than any other play ghosts has acted like a bomb explosion shaking the social structure to its very foundations in dolls house the justification of the union between Nora and Helmer rested at least on the husband's conception of integrity and rigid adherence to our social morality indeed he was the conventional ideal husband and devoted father not so in ghosts this is Alvin married captain Alvin only to find that he was a physical and mental wreck and that life with him would mean utter degradation and be fatal to possible offspring in her despair she turned to her youths companion young pastor Manders who as the true savior of souls for heaven les needs be indifferent to earthly necessities he sent her back to shame and degradation to her duties to husband and home indeed happiness to him was but the unholy manifestation of a rebellious spirit and a wife's duty was not to judge but to bear with humility the cross which a higher power had for your own good laid upon you mrs. Alvin bore the cross for 26 long years not for the sake of the higher power but for her little son Oswald oh she longed to save from the poisonous atmosphere of her husband's home it was also for the sake of the beloved son that she supported the lie of his father's goodness in superstitious awe of duty and decency she learned alas too late that the sacrifice of her entire life had been in vain and that her son Oswald was visited by the sins of his father that he was irrevocably doomed this – she learned that we are all of us ghosts it is not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that walks in us it is all sorts of dead ideas and lifeless old beliefs they have no vitality but they cling to us all the same and we can't get rid of them and then we are one in all so pitifully afraid of light when you forced me under the yoke you called duty and obligation when you praised as right and proper what my whole soul rebelled against as something loathsome it was then that I began to look into the seams of your doctrine I only wish to pick at a single knot but when I had got that undone the whole thing raveled out and then I understood that it was all machines own end of the modern drama part one recording by expatriate in Bangor Maine




Comments
  1. Anarchism and Other Essays (Version 2) | Emma Goldman | Essays & Short Works | Soundbook | 4/5
    20: [00:00:00] – Woman Suffrage
    21: [00:27:05] – The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation
    22: [00:47:58] – Marriage & Love
    23: [01:09:19] – The Modern Drama, pt. 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *