Societal values Pope satirizes:

  • ritualized triviality ->Pope believes the raised importance of trivial, everyday tasks is absurd.

    • waste days gossiping, which can ruin someone's reputation, and playing cards - described over-much and too much importance placed on winning
    • coffee drinking ritualistic in character
    • too much time spent daily on appearances
      external image RLdressingtable.jpgexternal image rape_of_the_lock.gif
  • superior upper-class women (in wealth and virtue) and unending importance of female chastity/appearances -> Pope believes the haughty, self-consumed nature and importance of appearances emphasized by women is irrational, dramatic, and superficial.

    • " was intended only to divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and good humor enough to laugh not only at their sex's little unguarded follies, but at their own."
    • "I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard words before a lady..." - Pope makes fun of the lady's assumed superior status
    • "...upon a condition very easy to all true adepts, an inviolate preservation of chastity." - all true lady's can easily remain chaste
    • "...all the passages of them are as fabulous as the vision at the beginning, or the transformation at the end (except the loss of your hair, which I always mention with reverence)." - subtly makes fun of the lady's over-reaction to losing her lock
    • "Succeeding vanities she still regards [when dead]...Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive, and love of ombre, after death survive." - even in death the upper-class women are obsessed with appearances
    • "What guards the purity of melting maids...'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know, Though Honor is the word with men below."
    • showy images and titles such as "your Grace": "'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll." - feelings of superiority instilled early and repeatedly in a person's life
    • describes daily "sacred rites of Pride" of upper-class women who are waited on endlessly by their servants
    • ladies' errors easily forgotten in comparison to beauty
    • overemphasized importance of appearance: sylphs instructed to guard Belinda's outward symbols of innocence/chastity, not her physical or mental state
    • love to flaunt status/rank: "For when women, wondrous fond of place."
    • overly dramatic over minor destruction of appearances: no one had ever mourned more than Belinda mourned for her lost lock, whose loss would ridiculously destroy her reputation
      • fighting breaks out, not only involving the courtiers, but also the gods and supernatural beings

  • honorable men -> Pope finds fault in the assumed view of men (especially nobility) as honorable, and rather believes men to be driven by lust.

    • easily distracted by beauty
    • become obsessed with a woman and hunt her relentlessly
  • gossip-> Pope believes that the importance people place on gossip is absurd and exaggerated.

    • "A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; At every word a reputation dies."
external image rape.jpg
quotes from the text of The Rape of the Lock in the Norton Anthology
*For further reading, The Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee provides a possible version of the story behind Pope's poem.
background article


Question #1: Identify Swift’s proposal. What type of response does he hope to get from his readers? The answer here should be a word that describes emotion. Identify five SPECIFIC examples from the text to support your answer.

Swift's proposal is to have poor mothers who can not afford to raise their babies sell them as food to wealthier citizens in an effort to cut down the growing population of the destitute and provide an additional source of income to poor .

Swift aims for shocked, appalled response from his audience.


1. I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled

2.A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter

3.Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after;

4.Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

5.although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

Not Another Modest Proposal

Many problems affect modern society including pollution, crime, and poverty. One of the most prevalent problems of society is smoking. Not only is smoking hazardous to the smoker, the smoke emitted poses a health threat to those surrounding the smoker. The main solution I propose to solve the problem of smoking is to cut off the hands of smokers. By cutting off the hands of smokers, they will be unable to smoke the poisonous, cancer sticks. By removing the hands of smokers, they will not be tempted to smoke due to their lack of fingers and thumbs. The air would become cleaner and the earth would become a more pleasant place to live. Cutting off the hands of smokers would also serve as a deterrent to teenagers contemplating whether or not they should smoke. The fear of having their hands removed will allow the teenager to make the healthy, right decision in that situation. Hundreds of thousands of people's lives will be saved each year if the government takes my proposed action in this situation. One needs to think of future generations which would be virtually smoke free and therefore healthier.

Another solution to solving the smoking problem would be a rather simple one. Cigarettes already contain formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide all of which slowly kill the smoker. In addition to the chemicals already in cigarettes, I propose that one in ten cigarettes should be filled with a lethal amount of arsenic. The box should contain a warning that states this fact. People are already playing a game of Russian Roulette by choosing to smoke in the first place so why not add a little bit more risk to the game. This should scare people into quitting smoking if they already smoke and deter younger generations from smoking. By using this method to eliminate smoking, some of the pressure on the health care system would be reduced due to less people inhaling these chemicals on a daily basis. Cigarettes cause smokers to be plagued with a number of diseases including bronchitis, lung cancer, and emphysema which lead to numerous doctor and hospital visits. The health care money spent on smoking diseases could then be spent on other causes such as researching the cure for cancer.

A final solution to solving the smoking problem is to force smokers to eat their cigarette butts instead of throwing them out or disposing of them on the ground. By forcing smokers to eat their cigarette butts, two birds will be killed with one stone. People will become repulsed by this mandate and quit smoking. This will also reduce the vast amounts of cigarette butts cluttering streets and road ways. Cigarette smokers are already poisoning themselves by smoking, but by forcing them to devour their cigarette butts, they are just completing the cycle. Forcing cigarette smokers to eat their cigarette butts is essential to curbing and eventually eliminating smoking.

I will not accept any other proposals or ideas on totally eliminating smoking. I will not listen to anyone who suggests raising the taxes on cigarettes for that is a preposterous idea. The idea that funding should be allotted to educational programs for children and teens about the risk of smoking is equally ridiculous. Federal programs should not even be considered. The only solutions to solving the problem of smoking are to cut off the smoker's hands, to fill cigarettes with arsenic or cyanide, and to force smokers to eat their cigarette butts. Not only will millions of dollars be saved in health care costs, it will save the lives of future generations and allow for cleaner air.

No Smoking
No Smoking


1. Mad-adj - very; extremely

Usage:The party at John's house last weekend was mad crazy. People broke furniture, jumped off the roof into the pool, and taped someone to a tree.

Origin: The word "mad" originates from ghetto slang where someone decided using "very" was outdated and randomly decided to replace very with another word that sounded cool.

2. Kicks-noun-shoes more specifically sneakers

Usage: My new kicks, limited edition Nike Air Force 1's, are supposed to be great for shooting some hoops!

Origin: "Kicks" originates from one of the many purposes of sneakers, kicking. One of the

Nike Air Force Ones
Nike Air Force Ones

3. Hella adj- very, extremely

Usage: The man in the alley with the black coat in the abandoned alley looked hella sketch.

Origin:The term "hella" originated in Norther Cal or Norcal when a surfer decided to add an "a" to the word "hell" to form a new adjective.

4. Hot mess -noun- a person who has no reason or excuse for the way they look

Usage: Britney Spears was a hot mess when she decided to shave her head.

Origin: Christian Siriano created the term "hot mess". It debuted on the show, Project Runway, and the word has spread extremely fast.

 A Hot Mess
A Hot Mess

5. Pansy-noun- a male who acts in a female like manner especially in a tough or scary situation

Usage:Don't be a pansy, be a man and kill the spider!

Origin: "Pansy" came from the name of a flower which is associated with females and has been applied to negatively describe a scared man.

6. Creeper-noun-one who stalks someone via networking websites such as Facebook or Myspace

Usage: Joe is such a Facebook creeper, I head he looks at Jane’s Facebook every single day.

Origin: "Creeper" originated from the verb, creep, meaning to move slowly or cautiously. The verb creep was turned into a noun by adding -er to provide a noun for someone in a sense moves slowly or cautiously to spy on someone. The person is able to move cautiously due to his or her ability to hide behind the computer screen.

7. Crunk adj -to be crazy and drunk

Usage: Lil Jon is always crunk due to his constant intake of alcohol along with his insane behavoir!

Origin: Famous rapper, Lil John, created the word "crunk" by combining the adjectives crazy and drunk into one word to describe his constant state of being.

King of Crunk, Lil John
King of Crunk, Lil John

8. Chill-adj - relaxed, calm

Usage: Chill dude! There is no need to eat your food like someone is going to take it away from you.

Origins: "Chill" came from the idea of being calm or relaxed like a cold ice cube.

9. Ballin -adj -to be awesome or to be "living the good life".

Usage: Joe is ballin. He has a new Rolls Royce with spinning rims, a two carat diamond necklace, and a huge manion in Beverly Hills.

Origins:The term "ballin" was created by rap artist Jim Jones. Within the song "We Fly High", the term is used to describe someone who is perceived as cool or wealthy.The motion that often accompanies the word "ballin" came from basketball. The picture below shows said motion.


10. Whipped-adj- the case of a man being controlled by his girlfriend or wife

Usage: Conversant 1: Is it true that John didn't go to the Flyer's game because his wife wanted him to go to the ballet?

Conversant 2: Yea it is. John is totally whipped!

Origin: "Whipped" originates from the act of being hit to keep one under control. A guy who is "whipped" is essentially kept under control by his wife or girlfriend.


"On Female Vanity" from The Spectator (No. 150)

The author begins by comparing woman's dresses to diamonds placed in black, velvet cases. A woman's dress is supposed to be like the velvet, black case of the diamond. Woman’s dresses which were crafted out of bright colored fabrics and ribbons were meant to draw a male’s attention to them. All of the diamonds and other jewels were supposed to assist in gaining a male's attention. The author points out how neither of these methods worked to gain a man's true attention and points out he would rather have a woman dress in a plain gown than an extravagant gown.The author satirizes the societal woman's process of preparing for an evening. He also makes a generalization that all societal women are concerned with showy and glittery jewels to add to their dresses. He even goes as far as to compare a visiting woman who is ostentatiously dressed to a toy-shop. The author finds flaw in the fact that the women take more interest in jewels and other materialistic items than in the simple pleasures of life. The author concludes the article with a short anecdote concerning his great aunt, Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff. The author describes how his great aunt was persuaded away from love with wordly objects such as a tippet, flowery satin, and a white sarsenet hood.

The ideas and beliefs of the Age of Reason are exemplified within "On Female Vanity". Most importantly Addison and Steele present their satirical argument in a logical manner following along with the "rules" of the Age of Reason. Addison and Steele not only address the problems of the problems of the sophisticated society, they do so in a sophisticated manner. "On Female Vanity" also exemplifies the concern for the present by addressing problems that were a current problem in society. Addison and Steele write about urbane society which includes the upper class females addressed within this article. Addison and Steele go on further to satirize the materialistic qualities exhibited by the upper class women.

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“On Ghosts and Apparitions” from The Spectator (No. 110)

The author takes a walk near an old deserted abbey late at night. The abbey possesses a long walk of large elm trees and according to a footman and a maid, the place is haunted after the sun sets. The author is very taken with the ruins of the abbey and its grounds and finds it so awesome that he can easily believe that some might be tempted to believe greater powers are at work there. The author then describes how his friend, Sir Roger, dispelled any beliefs that his family house was haunted by opening all the closed, eerie rooms and having his chaplain stay in them each to prove no one would come to harm in them. He states the inevitability of humans’ belief in ghosts and apparitions due to their superstitious nature and describes a philosopher, Lucretius, who against philosophy believed that peoples’ spirits left their body and when they were outside the body they could sometimes be seen as “the shapes and shadows of persons who are either dead or absent.” He ends with a story from Josephus in which a woman, Glaphyra, upon dreaming of her dead first husband who says he will claim her forever, dies soon after. He concludes that the story provides a certain example of the immortality of the soul and the existence of Divine Providence and that anyone who doubts the existence of these things should keep their thoughts to themselves and not “disturb the belief of others.”

Addison and Steele exhibit many of the ideas and beliefs of the Age of Reason throughout their works, including in "On Ghosts and Apparitions." These beliefs include the importance of institutional authority and formal religion as exemplified by the use of the deserted abbey and its grounds as the setting of "On Ghosts and Apparitions." Addison and Steele also employ the belief that nature must be tamed, describing the wild growth around the abbey as spooky. The article also has an intellectual and sophisticated tone due to the wording and the tolerance of other's beliefs advocated by not "disturb[ing] the belief of others." Urbane society is emphasized with the mention of the noble Sir Roger and his family home. Addison and Steele emulate classic Rome with their mention of Lucretius, the Roman philosopher, and strive to explain the existence of ghosts in order to support their belief in an ordered "clockwork universe." Through their mention of these ideas, Addison and Steele exhibit their role as writers during the Age of Reason.

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Addison and Steele also share many concerns with people today. Throughout their Spectator articles, Addison and Steele write about many of their daily concerns including the paranormal, marriage, manners, politics, entertainment, religion, and the English language. The topics addressed within "On Female Vanity No. 151" continue to be relevant today. Women still dress to catch the eye of a man. These popular topics concerned people then and still do now.

the Norton Anthology
google books ("the spectator")
rape of the lock pic
rape of the lock pic #2
rape of the lock pic #3
other pictures courtesy of Google Images
headers courtesy of
Smoking Facts
A Modest Proposal
Video courtesy of SNL
ghost picture