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thestral.

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Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: DMs à rendre.   Mer 11 Avr - 15:24

16 avril - dernier délais histoire White slavery in London. DONE
22 avril - dernier délais commentaire littérature comparée sur Déjeuner chez Wittgenstein.
4 mai - dernier délais pour le commentaire de traduction sur The Glass Menagerie.


Dernière édition par thestral. le Dim 15 Avr - 20:17, édité 1 fois
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thestral.

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Date d'inscription : 12/02/2015

MessageSujet: Re: DMs à rendre.   Dim 15 Avr - 20:16


White Slavery in London.

The 19th century was a huge turn in the perception and education of women. Indeed, this period gave birth to the desire of emancipation from the male’s authority – and women started to get more and more involved in their future, and their education. Annie Besant, who wrote the document we are studying, was a British socialist theosophist and women right’s activist, supporter of movements such as the self-rule of Indian and Irish. She was a leader of the Fabian Society, a socialist organization whose purpose is to help the growth of the principles of democratic socialism. Annie Besant wrote her article “White slavery in London” for the weekly paper The Link : A Journal for the Servants of Man on 1888 June 23rd  in order to expose the controversy of Bryant and May worker’s conditions to a large range of public. After reading this article, we can ask ourselves : why can we say that this article translates the ideologies of Annie Besant ? We will begin by studying how it can be perceived as a defence in the name of women, then we will focus on the way Annie Besent got invested in the cause.


As it has been said upper, this article can be seen as a defence in the name of middle and lower classes women who aren’t as much taken care of as other rather wealthy women by society. Indeed, at the beginning of the article, Annie Besant began by saying : “That this meeting, being aware that the shareholders of Bryant and May are receiving a dividend of over 20 per cent. […] pledges itself not to use or purchase any matches made by this firm” (l. 3-4). Here, she officially recognized that the Fabian Society, whose she was one of the leader, stated a boycott of the brand and called out for the others to do so. Since the Fabian Society had an influence over the English people of middle and lower classes, it could be said that they openly stated it in order to use their influence to actually stand up for the conditions of women who worked at Bryant and May. The Fabian Society was really involved in the progressivism of the country, and they believed in another way than revolution to change the world – so, calling out for a boycott seems to be in agreement with their ideals and way of seeing the progress.
As it is an article, the style isn’t as neutral as an historical text would be. Since Annie Besant was really involved in many causes, especially those related to women, the tone in which she wrote her article could be described as “acidic”, “aggressive” or “sarcastic”. For example, at the end of her article she said : “Oh, if we had but a people’s Dante, to make a special circle in the Inferno for those who live on this misery, and suck wealth out of the starvation of those people” (l. 44-45) which is a direct criticism against the chiefs of Bryant and May, and any other owners of a firm who take advantage of the poverty and difficult lives of workers. She uses the expression of the “Dante”, which is used to describe a good man (to quote the Urban Dictionary : “ the finest man you will meet in a life time”). Here, she publicly says that these people should be punished for the way they treat their workers – in a weekly newspaper where anybody can read it. The Link was a newspaper mostly dedicated to the working class – by exposing Bryant and May here, they exposed it to the whole part of the population who was directly targetted by them.



Here, Annie Besant also seems to take a full investment in the cause. Actually, she did give a voice to those who society didn’t care about. She always was a fighter for various causes (Indian and Irish independence, women, workers ..) which is why her work seems so precise and professional – before giving any criticism, she begins by giving numbers and fact (such as the wage, the way the workers are treated, their life, etc).. While working on this article, she was deeply aware that she would be the one to carry the voices and needs of those women and girls who where working in this manufacture. This can be seen in many of the quotes she uses in her work. In point of fact, it seems that she did take in note very carefully everything the women she interview told her : and used their words. For example, at the line 12, she used the quote “earns good money, as much as 8s. or 9s. per week” (l.12) which gives a hint on the value of the wages, and what is a “good” amount of money for women from the working class. Later, she wrote at the lines 14 and 15 “you get coffee, and bread, and butter, and jam, and marmalade, and lots of it” and “stands treat, you know” which translates the needs of these women, and their way of living since they seem to lack a lot of things such as food. Indeed, she did qualify them as “undersized because underfed” at the end of her article, line 41.
After talking about the meeting of the Fabian Society, and how they took the decision to boycott the brand, she went on another statement. She wrote : “I resolved to personally investigate their accuracy, and accordingly betook myself to Bromley to interview some of Bryant and May’s employees, and thus obtain information at first hand. The following is the outcome of my enquiries” ( l. 6-8 ) revealing that the following informations are all verified, and that she actually did a journalist work, and went on an investigation. Indeed, the 19th century was the birth of a whole different journalism – and a lot of London papers were created, with more or less revolutionary shades. This could be one of the reasons why The Link’s tone was so “involved” but the main reason why stayed the fact that its purpose was to give a voice to the working classes, and making some informations accessible to them.

At first sight, it appears that Annie Besant’s ideologies were mostly perceivable in her style, and the tone of the article. But deeper, after studying her life, and the historical context, it seems that it goes beyond that. Indeed, as an activist, she knew the influence she had and used it, along with her education and culture, to carry the voices of a generation and gender that was put aside by society. Annie Besant’s article White slavery in London had, in the same month (June 1888), a huge impact alongside the Fabian Society since it led to the London Matchgirls strike.

***

Bibliographie.

Unknown, “Our History”. FABIAN SOCIETY :
https://fabians.org.uk/about-us/our-history/ [15/04/2018]

TERRIER Marie, “The Link (1888) : l’expérience d’Annie Besant et de W.T. Stead entre socialisme et nouveau journalisme”. SEMINAIRE FRANCO BRITANNIQUE D’HISTOIRE :
https://sfbh.hypotheses.org/97 [15/04/2018]

URBAN DICTIONARY :
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dante     [15/04/2018]

WIKIPEDIA :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Besant [14/04/2018]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabian_Society [14/04/2018]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_matchgirls_strike_of_1888 [15/04/2018]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_British_newspapers [15/04/2018]
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