Anne Finch’s Opposition to The Rape of the Lock The Restoration Period 1660-1700 was a period of social, political and philosophical turmoil, which laid the foundation for future centuries. This period was marked by an advance in colonization and trade and by the birth of the Whig and Tory parties. In poetry, works of Alexander Pope and Anne Finch and a number of other poets distinguishes the Restoration. But, there are several objections from these poets; one particular opposition occurs between Pope’s The Rape of the Lock and Anne Finch.
Pope was born into a Catholic family during a period of intense anti-Catholic sentiment in England. His family was forced to move because Catholics were forbid from living within a certain area of London at this time. While Pope was growing up, Catholicism affected his education although there were very few Catholic schools. His life would soon influence his writing of The Rape of the Lock. The following comes from the Twickenham Edition of Pope’s poem:Order now
The families concerned in the Rape of the Lock â€“ The Fermors, Petres, and Caryllsâ€”were prominent members of that group of great intermarried Roman Catholic families owning land in the home countries. Most of whom came within the circle of Pope’s friends and acquaintances and to whom Pope considered his own family to belong. Some time before 21 March 1712, when Pope sold his poem to Lintott, Robert, Lord Petre had cut off a lock of Arabella Fermor’s hair, and John Caryll had suggested to Pope that he should write a poem to heal the estrangement that followed between the two families. Twinckenham 83
Alexander Pope is responsible for one of the most comic poems of the eighteenth century, The Rape of the Lock. This poem was written specifically to resolve a serious falling out between two leading Catholic families. The cause of the quarrel was the cutting of a lock of hair by Lord Petre from the head of Arabella Fermor. But, this poem also discussed another theme: the relationship between men and women. The events that Pope describes in this poem occur between Belinda, who is motivated by pride and vanity and Baron, who is driven by ambition. Belinda’s energy is driven to attract a man and pretend to be affectionate and then cast him off for another. Baron oversteps his boundaries of acceptable behavior by acting with force toward the desirable woman. The Rape of the Lock is both a scornful description of a ridiculous social situation and a serious analysis of consequences of flattering self-esteem and desire.
The Rape of the Lock is a staple of neoclassical writing; it includes wit and wit is characterized by parallelism and balance. It contains epic conventions such as war between the sexes, epic game played on the “velvet plain” of the card table, a journey to the underworld, and battle. Pope writes by describing the man as the hero. But Finch writes her poetry in regards to women.
When Anne Finch wrote, she followed a particularly intellectual course, not only for women but also for anyone at the time. She wrote about philosophy; her philosophical work had another important source: her own physical pain. She was concerned to provide theodicy for her writers. She attempted to reunite the existence of a compassionate or benign god with the existence of suffering and other evil in the world. Her audience should be prepared to read religious controversy, which is far more intense than other philosophical contemporaries.
Ann Finch may have objected to Pope’s The Rape of the Lock because Pope’s poem is impressed by the force of humor and the style serves to exaggerate how ridiculous “war” is between a man and a woman. In The Rape of the Lock, the laughter and ridicule do not undermine the importance of good sense and virtue in the relationships between men and women. Finch disagrees and believes the woman is a heroin in this poem. Finch argues that woman rule the race, but men believe that they are the rulers. In most of Finch’s works, she “submerges political conflict in an explicitly female lyric voice” DeMaria 201. “Finch creates both female poetry and poetry of abjection out of this situation- or, rather more accurately, those tangled subjectivies created the abject female poet out of her” 201. She is comfortable criticizing one of the most powerful poets in her period Pope while “killing him with kindness”.
Pope’s belief in Catholicism and Finch’s belief in philosophy may have also been a cause of Finch’s objection to The Rape of the Lock. The two writers had different viewpoints toward religion. Also, Finch may have seen more importance in writing about her own pain, while Pope finds it important to write about others pain. He writes about the pain of Belinda and Baron.
In conclusion, there are several examples, as one can observe, of Finch’s objection to The Rape of the Lock. The life and beliefs of these two authors were entirely different and this seems to be the major reason Finch may have objected to Pope’s poem.