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Temple by Susanna Haswell Rowson

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Melody Yawn

American Lit

March 18, 2007

Essay One


Temple by Susanna Haswell Rowson is a short story that has a strong influence on the mind of young women. The story is an intriguing one that encourages the need for better female education that would prepare young women against the smooth talking mouths of men.

In the preface of the story Rowson starts of by saying she is flattering herself to be of service

"To some who are so unfortunate as to have neither friends to advise, or understanding to direct them, through the various and unexpected evils that attend a young and unprotected woman in her first entrance into life..."

This statement lets the reader know that the story is going to be one that helps young women focus on what should really be important to them.

In the beginning of Temple you are introduced to two men named Montraville and Belcour who are surveying the ladies of Chichester (a sure sign that they are not as innocent as they play up to be later in the story). The two are about to leave town when they spot Madame Du Pont and the young girls who attend her school. This is when Montraville sees Charlotte Temple a lovely young lady, who he remembers dancing with at a ball. When he see her blush as she walks past he is immediately smitten with all kinds of ideas and Montraville being the conceited man that he is, thought that he was the cause of her blushing and he wanted to see her again.

In Montravilles conquest to see Charlotte again he returns to Chichester and waits outside of the school gates. While he is waiting he thinks to himself "should I succeed in seeing and conversing with her it can be productive of no good'. This means that even Montraville knew what he was doing was wrong but he insisted on corrupting the poor girl anyway. While waiting outside the gate he finally saw what he was waiting for: Charlotte and her French teacher Mademoiselle La Rue walking across the field. As the two women came close to him he slipped Charlotte a letter and paid Mademoiselle to bring Charlotte into the field again the next evening.

Now one would think that Mademoiselle La Rue would be a responsible adult because she was a teacher at a well respected school, but she was quite the opposite. La Rue had "eloped from a convent with a young officer, and, on coming to England had lived with several different men in open defiance of all moral and religious duties." The only reason she was given the job at Madame Du Pont's school was because she was recommended by a "lady whose humanity overstepped the bounds of discretion". So in Montravilles plot to meet Charlotte he used La Rue as a pawn. He set up a date with La Rue and his Friend who he made insist that she bring a friend. Charlotte being La Rues favorite she persisted that she comes.

Charlotte being the naпve girl that she was went on the venture thinking that she was going to have a great time. To her astonishment she found that she didn't have fun at all in fact she was "astonished at the liberties Mademoiselle permitted them to take; grew thoughtful and uneasy, and heartily wished herself at home again in her own chamber."

At this time Rowson say's to the reader that maybe Charlotte wanted to go back to her chambers because she was curious as to what was in the letter: because she imagined the letter was filled with compliments on her beauty, and vows of everlasting love. Rowson then states that the reader shouldn't be surprised that a young heart such as Charlottes would feel itself warmed and that Charlotte might even sub come to Montravilles good looks.

Then in an attempt to guide women away from falling into this trip Rowson say,

"In affairs of love, a young heart is never in more danger than when attempted by a handsome young soldier...but when beauty of person, elegance of manner, and an easy method of paying compliments, are united to the scarlet coat, smart cockade, and military sash, ah! Well-a-day for the poor girl who gazes on him: she is in imminent danger; but if she listens to him with pleasure, tis all over with her, and from that moment she has neither eyes nor ears for any other object."

She basically stated that when a young woman meets a sweet-talking man that looks good, walks around with a smooth demeanor. It's easy for her to fall in love, but this isn't necessarily a good thing. Because a girl can become so swept up in that man she might forget about everything else that involves her.

On the return home Charlotte told La Rue that she didn't think they did the right thing by going out that night. La Rue responded by saying that it was her own fault that she didn't have any fun, and that the only reason she invited her was because she thought she would enjoy a new scene. Charlotte



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