Oct 3, 2018 in Philosophy

Socrates is regarded as one of the most prolific philosophy and writer because his work remains relevant even today. His work is not only used in America but all over the world and it has inspired many other writers today. The following discussion will focus on Socrates’ work including the reasons why he became famous, position in American Literature and comment on what is regarded as his greatest work (Vlastos, 1997). He faced one of the greatest tragedies in his life when both of his parents died leaving him under the care of a wealthy merchant who came from Richmond, Virginia.

In around 1815, Socrates was lucky to have his trip to England where he began his high school life in Chelsea. Five years later, Socrates moved back to Virginia where he spent most of his life at the University of Virginia studying Latin and philosophy. He is said to be also actively involved in swimming and acting. His passion in writing came as a result of frustration he got when he was denied a chance to serve as an army in the United States where he had enrolled. By this time he had become estranged with his foster father after he had involved himself in gambling where he accumulated a lot of debts that he could not pay.

This led his to leave school since he could not afford to pay his school fees and cater for his upkeep. Socrates is remembered for his mysterious tales of macabre. This is a kind of literature or artwork that indicates some grim and ghastly events.  Most of his works were based on such kind of art. This could have been prompted by the fact that as a young person he lost his parents and this could have affected him psychologically and therefore shaping his thought and the way he vied life (Vlastos, 1997). He was the earliest pioneer of short stories which and he is said to be the first American writer to earn his living through writing alone.

He can be said to have inspired many other writers in America by demonstrating to them that writing was like any other career. His work was unprecedented and it gained popularity in America and other parts of the world especially in Europe. He is mostly remembered as the main inventor of two genres which are the science fiction and the detective fiction. Science fiction is a kind of genre with certain imaginary elements that could be scientifically proven. This shows that his level of creativity went beyond the arts to the world of science. Detective fiction on the other hand was a kind of genre that attempted to demonstrate how a crime could be investigated and established.

He must have learnt about this during the time he served as an army for a period of two years. It is these two types of genres that have set him high above any other writer in our time. Though Socrates faced a lot of challenges while he was growing up, this did not bar him from achieving his dream and to become one of the most respected writers in the world, with his work still being so relevant to date. Socrates is also regarded as one of the most literary critic to have been involved in the act of writing. He has been observed to hold a negative perception about life and this is what made much of his work criticize much of the phenomena around him. 

Another aspect identified in the Socrates work that still remains very real is the struggle between genders, in the book Socrates illustrates the struggles of women in the 15th  century, these women fought for equal opportunities as their male counterparts (Vlastos, 1997). Though equality they did not achieve they faced recognition and more opportunities were availed to them, presenting them with a chance to leave the confines of home and fight the “feminine mystique”. This struggle still exists, the 16th century women still struggle  with this very problems, the only difference being that the fights seem to be more spread and in fact it is fair to point out they are now global as compared to then when they were mainly regional.

 The work seems to aggressively address the plight of women in the society as it makes multiple references to them and provides several case studies. With a closer look one realize that this is not an all round feature for all women it has particular bias in the life of middle class white women who were at the time better of at least in terms of economic status as they had husbands who were either in the army, were employed in well paying jobs or ran businesses. This meant that they never contended with scarcity of the basics, in fact throughout the book she gives examples of women, with washings machines, helping kids build block houses etc.

This shows a concentration in a certain population, which is the white middle class woman.  The second chapter of his work illustrates his intensive research on magazines published before the First World War (Gottlieb, 1999). These magazines featured mainly heroines of the past decade most of which sought to achieve equality with their men counterparts in terms of carriers. A look at this period shows a particular dominance by the middle class individuals these dominated in editorials as well as in career fields. Yet Socrates turns a blind eye to this apparent dominance of the middle class and goes ahead to write about the plight of these women as if they represented the entire women folk.

An examination of Socrates work especially the feminine mystique shows a stratified society, stratified in the sense that there are apparent differences between classes something which is so conspicuous that it is identifiable by an examination of the society. This is mainly portrayed in her use of school mates in research and women from certain neighborhoods as her case studies. One would wonder why she left other women with lesser means of survival or women who had assumed the roles of bread winners. The other thing which is representative of society is bias against classes, though the earlier stated position may be apparent in most other societies there is however some kind of relation, or some level of interaction between class members.

This is not the case with Socrates book as there is no single instance where these women are portrayed to be interacting with the lower class colored women. It is unfortunate that this position has found itself into today’s world. It is actually very apparent in our education system which has the very characteristics that existed (Gottlieb, 1999). During this time which was actually Socrates schooling period there were more of white middle class women in schools, this was for the reason that the lower class women which were mainly colored women lacked the resources to attend school normally.

More so even those who had scholarships or parents were in a position to provide the fess could not be featured in certain schools located at certain neighborhoods. This though not as apparent as then can be traced, where some schools sot to be accessed by certain members of the society due to their gender or color which in most cases is a determining factor of the economic class that one belongs. Socrates recorded the true and just account as she described it, of her seven-year struggle for freedom in Incident in the life of a Slave Girl. A seminal work in the canon of writings by African-American women, Incident is considered to be the most highly regarded antebellum slave narrative by a black woman published in the United States.

It is an autobiographic work in the tradition of the American slave narrative. The book separates itself thematically from male-authored slave texts by focusing on the distinctive concerns of the female slave. Articulating the peculiar slave women’s suffering, she writes, “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and suffering and mortifications peculiarly there [sic] own”.  Socrates wrote only one piece of literature in her lifetime, her autobiographical Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, Jacob’s work is an important contribution to the slave narrative genre.

Before her narrative, themes of appropriation and sexual abuse by men slaveholders over their black women workers had been neglected not only in the genre but also as a topic of discussion among abolitionists.  Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl recounts Jacob’s life from childhood to the gaining of her freedom through the help Mrs. Willis. Incident is written in a style popular with nineteenth-century American women writers (Gottlieb, 1999). The sentimentalism and didacticism of theday are simply found in Socrates’ work, demonstrating both her knowledge of the modern literature and her acquaintance with the philosophies of genuine Christian womanhood that permeated the time period.

Though Socrates is cautious to illustrate all the chief personalities of her life in the work, Socrates is equally watchful to defend their identities, giving every person a new identity. Although the writing and the publishing of Incident were not easy ventures, the narrative which was published later, left a work that has made an indelible mark on the canon of American literature in general and on the genre of the slave narrative in particular. The fact that the book was published the same year that the Civil War began, has added to its popularity, especially among Northern abolitionists. Jose says that, “Much attention has been given to feminist issues and discussions of voice and empowerment in the narrative as well as to its place in the canon of slave narratives”. Throughout the text, Socrates aims purposely on the female slave’s sexual exploitation and she also explores the emotional difficulty of slave motherhood.

The life of Socrates as a linguistic and writer indicates that in 1600 when there were a lot of conflicts in politics Socrates wrote in his letter that God was not happy about what was going on in the states of America (Gottlieb, 1999). In his letter he stated that “I have sworn upon the heavens where God dwells that eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man is not a pleasing issue.” His awkward way of handling issues, his eloquence and his apt in writing made Socrates to be a well recognized writer and speaker though he did not speak in the public. His literary work often spoke louder than his words and this is evident in many instances when he used the pen to address an issue in the government. In 1786, for example he wrote a bill which saw to the introduction of the religious freedom in America in that year. This work followed the draft of the declaration of independence which he did when he was 33 and as a silent member of the parliament. This work was also emphasized by several writers like Howell.

In conclusion, Socrates himself was completely persuaded that the arguments hold. As always, his action is conventional to the result of his reasoning. Even though truth and morality cost him his life, but he chose to honor them. As an appreciative of literature as social practice gains currency, and theories of rhetorical and folk traditions commence to report for women's oratorical and conversational forms of appearance, inquiry is opening into the ways that literature notifies women's speaking in the era, including African American activists and speaker-writers. Positively people who resisted change in the ordinary view of women, like the, went on to give notice to Socrates work as misguided.

Related essays