We have started role-plays again in social studies this year, this time focusing on the Canadian confederation. I have chosen to be Henrietta Muir Edwards. This role is not as far out of my comfort zone as I would have liked to be; but I am happy that I have a role as a woman as I can better understand her struggles at the time and relate to her on a more personal level. I hope to better understand the evolution of women’s rights by studying and pretending to be Henrietta as well as the evolution of government in Canada through the role play in general. I feel very excited for this year’s role play and I hope to get more involved and embrace the twitter format more. If you want to follow the role play from Henrietta’s perspective, the twitter handle is @Henrietta_Muir.
In the following post I will be writing from Henrietta’s perspective and I will strive to do the following things…
- Introduce my character before 1860.
- Include date at top (journal entry style).
- Explain what my character wants, what is in their way, and what they are doing to over come their obstacles.
- Explain hat is going on at the time (conflicts, who they know, where they live, treaties, wars etc.).
18 December 1860
Aujourd’hui il neige, il fait froid cet hiver! Pardon my French, but this winter really has been very cold here in Montreal. Mother has bought me a new coat, not because of the cold, but because it is my birthday. The coat is very warm, it is made of wool and it has three buttons made of wood.
I am turning 11 now, and father has joked about me getting married soon; though I know that it is really not that far off. There are a lot of pressures on women in these modern times. Pressure to get married, and to please others, pressure to remain silent and passive about injustices. It really does frustrate me.
On my birthday, my family and I eat a nice meal together (mother, father, and my sister Amélia). At the table we talk about what happened around the year that I was born (1849) and what is going on this eyar.
The Act of Union took place in 1841. My parents did not like the act, they said that it “assimilated” Francophone culture and society. French was not considered an official language! There were petitions to repeal the Act. The reaction was so intense that London recognized and accepted the use of French in 1848.
This year, 1860, the Americans have begun a civil war to try and become independent from Britain. I understand why they would want to become independent; the Brits are not always the nicest people, after all, they have undermined French culture and the French language for years now. However, I don’t know if a war is the best way to gain independence.
Later in the evening, I secretly stay up with my sister Amélia and we talk about our futures. We say that we may want to create a Working Girls’ Association in Montreal one day to provide meals, reading rooms, and study classes for women. We also dream about publishing a periodical; we would call it The Working Women of Canada. It would be written by women for women. I also want to write books in my life time, about legal problems women must overcome; I would call the first book, Legal Status of Canadian Women and the second book Legal Status of Women in Alberta. My sister and I love to read Le Canadien, but there isn’t always a lot of female authors, or subjects.
We talk about growing up and getting married and having children and moving far away from Montreal as well. I want to marry a doctor, have three children, and move somewhere in the prairies, where there is peace and quite. I want to pursue women’s rights when I’m older, maybe even create a feminist organization of my own or with some friends. I know that its not technically a job, but, I feel like I should follow my passions. Amélia agrees. I think that I may even want to get into politics, really make a change in legislature. Amélia thinks that I am crazy to think that I could be in politics, especially as a woman. But I like to imagine that one day I will not only have the same rights as a man, but also the same respect and status.
There are a lot of things that I hope to accomplish in my life time, I have a lot of passion for women’s rights. I know that there will be a lot of obstacles that will stand in my way; social standards, a misogynistic system and society, the fact that I am a woman and do not have equal rights. I could write on for a long time about that topic. There are a lot of things I will have to overcome but I not only have passion, but I have drive. I have perseverance. I have diligence. Talking to Amélia and my friends about my passions has also helped me realize that I am not alone in the fight for women’s rights, there are many other girls out there, right now, who also want to fight for the same things. We have strength in numbers, and if we work together, we can achieve great things.
I look forward to the future, both the obstacles and the successes.