Judith Sargent Murray Biography

What is Feminism?

According to bell hooks:

Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.

Three Waves of Feminism

First Wave: 1920s The right to vote.

Second Wave: 1960s Women’s movement. Equality in the workplace, reproductive rights, access to birth control.

There is tension between second wave and third wave feminism. Third wave is much more fractured than previous versions.

Third Wave: 1990s “Third-wave feminism distinguished itself from the second wave around issues of sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and celebrating sexuality as a means of female empowerment.”

In this feminist essay, Murray posed the argument of spiritual and intellectual equality between men and women. It also included a liberal analysis of traditional male superiority in the Bible and criticism of the deprivation of female education of the time.

Murray Introduction Lecture

On the Equality of the Sexes

On the Equality of the Sexes


Are we deficient in reason? we can only reason from what we know, and if an opportunity of acquiring knowledge hath been denied us, the inferiority of our sex cannot fairly be deduced from thence.


Will it be said that the judgment of a male of two years old, is more sage than that of a female’s of the same age? I believe the reverse is generally observed to be true. But from that period what partiality! how is the one exalted, and the other depressed, by the contrary modes of education which are adopted! the one is taught to aspire, and the other is early confined and limitted. As their years increase, the sister must be wholly domesticated, while the brother is led by the hand through all the flowery paths of science. Grant that their minds are by nature equal, yet who shall wonder at the apparent superiority, if indeed custom becomes second nature; nay if it taketh place of nature, and that it doth the experience of each day will evince.

What other points does she mention? Who else does she mention?

American Identity

How does Murray add to American Identity?

Analysis Essay

Take into consideration two texts we have read so far, one must be from the current period. Compare and contrast how they each represent American ideals and/or American identity.

For Example: Compare and contrast Anne Bradstreet and Judith Sargent Murray’s representation of American identity.

Purpose: To analyze how the authors have added to or helped define American Identity.

  • 1500 – 2000 words
  • Two scholarly articles
  • MLA and Works Cited
  • American Identity Analysis
  • Clear Thesis

An analysis of a literary work may discuss:

  • How the various components of an individual work relate to each other.
  • How two separate literary works deal with similar concepts or forms.
  • How concepts and forms in literary works relate to larger aesthetic, political, social, economic, or religious contexts.

Evidence and Support

Include examples from the text:

  • Direct quotations
  • Summaries of scenes
  • Paraphrases

Cite other critics’ opinions

Discuss the text’s historical and social context

Always remember to read carefully and highlight useful
passages and quotes.