Essay Sample on M. Carey Thomas's Relationships

Published: 2023-08-27
Essay Sample on M. Carey Thomas's Relationships
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Relationship Public relations Interpersonal communication
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1366 words
12 min read

In what way was friendship characterized by ritualistic behavior? In what way was it considered a spiritual entity? How does this compare and contrast to how marriage is considered by many (but not all) in our society? Do we still have rituals around friendship? If so, why not? What do these rituals tell us about the way friendship felt or what it meant?

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Friendship involves the coming together of people with different characters and outlooks of life and foregoing their interests for the sake of achieving the common goals of the association. Therefore, for friendships to be productive, the parties concerned with the relationship will need to come up with rituals which will determine the direction of their relationships, as well as setting the goals to be achieved in the course of the friendships. Rituals in friendship involve performing activities together, which helps to strengthen the relationships in the friendship, while also offering the parties to achieve the common goals of the friendship.

Rituals in friendships are not universally accepted, and the friendships will determine the types of activities in which they can undertake. Rituals in friendship are formalized, in that they are performed to create harmony `in the process of the sociological process of friendship. Therefore, rituals are needed for the establishing bonds, and also in creating room for the two or more parties engaging in the social interaction to establish routines of their own which will, in the end, will help to set the social interaction apart from the other ones, due to the uniqueness of the social group's activities and mode of operation.

Thomas experienced the need for friendship from a tender age, and this drove her into looking for friendship in unlikely places, like the friendship of her family's cook. The camaraderie with the cook turned tragic too quickly, as she was got severely burned in the process of their boding activity, which was cooking. It can, therefore, be assumed that the cooking is the ritual through which these unlikely friends bonded over. Rituals, as discussed earlier, are decided upon by the parties interacting, and therefore the decision to interact through the activities of cooking and other household chores were convenient to both parties since the maid could only interact on that level with Thomas.

From the Quaker background in which Thomas was born and raised in, chores were determined by an individual's gender, and this was directly influenced by the religious beliefs of the family. Quakers believe that women should also help in the development of the household, which in turn helps in the advancement of society. It is for this reason that Thomas was allowed and even encouraged to partake in the household chores despite there being a maid to take care of the chores. The chores performed by Thomas in her childhood and the interactions that came with the interactions provided the grounds on which the feminist ideas and beliefs that Thomas came to be famously known for were cultivated.

Thomas had a strong bond with her mother, and this relationship was strengthened even further when Thomas was nursed by her mother when she was severely burned. The slow process of recovery provided time for the two to bond, and the feminist ideals that Thomas' mother held were transferred to her daughter during these sessions. It can, therefore, be interpreted that the rituals performed during the recovery process played a crucial role in ensuring that Thomas had company during the sad times that she was alone and in pain from the burns, as well as acting as a training ground on which the ideas of feminism were passed on to her, allowing her to be a trailblazer for women's rights during her time.

The strong relationship that she had earlier enjoyed with her mother faced some strains when Thomas traveled to Europe for education. In the course of her travels to Europe, Thomas picked up more outlooks of life. Therefore she developed a taste for art, especially music and theatrical performances, both of which were not supported by their religious beliefs as Quakers. This meant that the cordial relationship that Thomas once enjoyed with her mother was now strained since her mother was not as supportive of the acquired tastes of her travels as her father was. The friction led to Thomas questioning her religious beliefs, and therefore she ended up being alienated from the Quaker beliefs that she had been born and raised in.

Hannah Whitall Smith, Thomas' aunt, was another relationship that greatly influenced Thomas's life and life's work and achievements. When Thomas was growing up, her aunt's attempts to fight for equality for women in society, especially through fighting for the women suffrage movement meant that the young Thomas received first-hand influence on the need for equal opportunities for women and also the need for women to fight for their rights in the society. It is also the spiritual influence that Thomas' aunt had over her life that played an active role in shaping her life and desires since her aunt was a layperson at the Quakers Church, which they were all members to. The spiritual role that Hannah Whitall Smith had over her niece may have had a direct influence in her life since the words spoken by a religious leader are taken to have more impact than those expressed on a casual basis.

The relationship between Thomas and her father is also another pivotal relationship that shaped her life, goals, and direction in life. Thomas' father was a staunch Quaker, and although he was not supportive of the feminist beliefs held by his wife, her sister, and his daughter, he still supported the decisions made by his daughter. This goes to show that the father was willing to overlook his religious beliefs, practices, and rituals to address the issue of accepting his daughter's life choices since his paternal love could not let him pass judgment on her over her lifestyle choices and decision on the philosophy of life. He supported his daughter so much that he paid for her travels to Europe to get an education, which he considered to be important for her life.

Childhood relationships with her age mates also had a direct influence on the life and works of M. Carey Thomas . growing up, Thomas had a tight relationship with her cousin Frank Smith, and their friendship was so close that when Frank suddenly died in 1872, Thomas became so depressed that her parents opted to send her to boarding school where she could be with her other cousin, Bessie. At Howland Institute, Thomas' feministic ideas started coming out, for instance, when she decided to dress up as a man for an opera. This decision disturbed her mother, straining their relationship even further.

The relationship that Thomas had with her teacher, Miss Slocum, had a direct influence on the decision on the career that she undertook and therefore influencing the direction that Thomas' life took. Initially, Thomas had hoped to practice medicine, but on the motivation, she got from the example of her teacher, she decided to study education, a decision which her father objected. Relentless pleading from Thomas and her mother finally led to him accepting her decision. In a bid to push her feminist ideals further, Thomas went on to pursue several degrees across different universities in the world, getting honors in the process, despite some universities not granting equal opportunities to women in terms of access to education. It is, therefore, for this reason, that Thomas amassed the degrees and worked towards achieving the high honors to prove to the American society that indeed, women have the same intellectual capacity as men and that they should be provided with equal opportunities to pursue their dreams in life.

In her years as a career woman, Thomas used the positions she held to provide the young women in the American society with opportunities to join colleges and universities since she could directly influence the admissions to the learning institutions. Thomas believed that through education of women, the feminist movement could be advanced faster since the women would be empowered intellectually to pursue the issues that they held der in their lives.

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