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Of mice and Women

3 Most influential women in literature

By Natasha CollazoPublished 3 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
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Of mice and Women
Photo by Allyssa Olaivar on Unsplash

I’m starting with Jane Austen of the 18th century. Jane was one of the most historic female novelists in the world. Jane was quite an early time feminist, as her work made women the central figure of her stories. You might know her by her famous literary novel, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park that continues to influence English literature today. What makes the British novelist an important figure in the history amongst many scholars is the irony and realism of her work. I am always inspired when reading vintage literature, getting acquainted with the mind of an empowering woman of a different age. The era before cellphones and transportation. Letters and face to face intimacy is what life consisted of back in this day and Jane was a well known icon of her time.

The rebirth of her work has transpired into the making of many films today, and yes, I’ve seen a good handful of them myself. Her fame is a legendary wildfire in our libraries today, setting the shelves of literary art on fire spreading her work from generation to generation. Jane is the most famous and well-known female novelist of all time.

Of mice, Fame & Femininity, the brilliant Jane Austen

Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Next up, we have Hannah Adams, the very first female writer in the United States to make a living as an author. In the 1700’s, women didn't have many privilege's or nearly any at all. You think making it now as a writer is hard, imagine in a time were women had to fight first to be seen passed their breasts and acknowledged as someone with a face and a brain. What a wild idea?

Hannah was not threatened by this idea. She was moved by her spirituality. Her heart for the education of a higher power, I believe is the motive to why she received the acknowledgement as the first woman in America to go on and sell many copies, becoming the first working paid female writer.

The education she provided in her work held important resources of research on world religions, as access to libraries, books, etc. were scarce during this time. Her books consisted of material that invoked many to soul search. Though, the costs for work wasn't much back then, she sold enough copies of her books to make a living.

Part of me wonders if Hannah and Jane played any part in influencing each other, whether they knew it or not as the timeline of both of their careers were merely identical. I guess we will never know. But I would imagine, the influence is what lead to both of their success as Jane was an author in Britain, and Hannah the first in the U.S. After all, this is how a movement works, one stands up, and it provokes another to join.

Of mice and Americana, Hannah Adams, a true patriot

Hannah Adams (1755-1831)

Now, that we have recognized two amazing women whose biggest accomplishment in success was first, being a woman, then a writer, we now meet Poet Phillis Wheatley, who was not only admired as a women, but was marked in history as the first African American out of men and women to become a published writer. Its not only empowering to be a ‘woman of color’ but to hold the first title in writing out of both genders of her race, that is even more of a triumph. Phillis Wheatley was well-known for her heartfelt poetry and her elegant way with words.

She was born in Africa and sold as a slave shipped off to Boston in 1761 on a ship named Phillis, who she was later named after once purchased by John and Susanna Wheatley. Phillis was purchased for Johns wife, Susanna to work on some of the household chores. She then took the name of Phillis Wheatley under the ownership and new master, the Wheatleys.

Phillis soon showed the capability of more then her domestic skills. Susanna started to catch on to what the young girl was putting out and became intrigued by her artistry and ability to learn. It came natural for Phillis. Susanna captured the beauty in her craft as an individual, and took on the endeavor to educate the little girl.

Phillis published her first poem around the age of twelve, and soon afterward she became a well known poet in the northern region.

However, it wasn’t always straightforward for Phillis. Because of her race, she had a lot of push back from other persons of authority, who refused to support her work. But with the help of Susanna they didn’t let that dim the light of Phillis, and continued to pursue London for publishing where her poems on various subjects, brought her fame both in England and the American colonies in 1773.

A couple of years later, her work was grandfathered in as the first black American poet when America became a nation in 1776.

George Washington, applauded her work and invited Wheatley to visit in 1776, which she accepted.

Oh, what a time to be alive, to be this outstanding figure of both Nations. She will forever have a seat in the pages and hearts of literary and American history.

There is so much more to Phillis’ story that I could write a whole heartening novel off just the emotions, strengths and insecurities this young girl endured in her short life, that I encourage you to explore. Though her story ends in a tragic death at 31 after giving birth to her baby girl who also passed the same day, she finished well, leaving her legacy behind.

I already have my own insecure thoughts as a writer, “what is Vocal going to think of this?” or “am I gonna be judged for saying this?” “Do people even take me seriously as a writer?”

Imagine all of this in addition to the cloud hovering above from the stares of ignorance upon you, all day, every day. On top of it, you’re a kid whose brain hasn’t reached full maturity yet.

I am extremely empowered by little Phillis Wheatley and the trauma she endured.

Of mice and Slavery Bravery, The first of many firsts paving the way for other voices, Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)

With this, I will leave you with one of my personal picks to her poetry that move the wind in my sails.

a hymn to the morning

Attend my lays, ye ever honour’d nine,

and my strains refine;

In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,

For bright Aurora now demands my song.

Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,

Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:

The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays,

On ev’ry leaf the gentle zephyr plays;

Harmonious lays the feather’d race resume,

Dart the bright eye, and shake the painted plume …

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About the Creator

Natasha Collazo

Werewolf Writer

I get inspired at the mid of night

Stock market by day, howler by night.

✍🏽

Inquiries: [email protected]

Instagram: @sunnycollazo

Do all things in love

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Comments (2)

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  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Really interesting take and very much appreciated the diversity in your choices to spotlight 🤍

  • This was a great read. You did an outstanding job with it Natasha. I enjoyed the portraits of each woman. It's nice to put a face to the name.

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