19 March 2015

March 19 - minna canth flag day

this is also finlands 'equality' day.

minna was born in 1844 to a working class family. she went to college to be a teacher but ended up marrying her professor and leaving school. in the beginning of her marriage she felt it was necessary to become her husbands servant and give up all her ambitions. he was a good man though and minna evolved to change her opinion and behavior, husband and wife even edited a local newspaper together. when her husband died, she moved their 7 children to kuopio and took over her fathers business. in her spare time she wrote plays and stories that shaped the future of finnish society. she ended up being a feminist who wrote about womens rights and other social issues, including poverty. pretty cool lady.

so, in honor of her, i actually got my act together early and read two of her writings:

1. short story - the nursemaid (lapsenpiika). this is a very short story with what i would say is a very bitter tone. its definitely written to shame the upper class into changing their ways. possibly it did that, but it wasnt terribly moving to read.

2. play - anna-liisa (one of her more famous). i cant remember the last time i read a play, i suppose senior year of high school. this was not a very complex or challenging one thank goodness. it was straight forward and i thought rather dull (in the sense that the characters didnt have any memorable lines or thought provoking things to share). it relayed a powerful message in its day though, it helped to shift public opinion and gave a human face to some difficult events in a womans life. however, i cant say it holds the same power today.

its about a young woman who secretly had a relationship out of wedlock at age 15 which produced a baby. she was terrified at the repercussions her life would have due to the bastard child so in a fit of panic she killed and buried it. later she was blackmailed by the babys father. what i find most interesting about the whole idea is that the author herself nearly had a similar (infanticide) experience. a couple months after her husbands died she gave birth to their seventh child. she was overwhelmed no doubt, and she expressed to her children that they needed to keep an eye on her and the child because she felt she was in danger of harming it. she really was an amazing woman. the day certainly belongs to her and what she helped do for equality in society.

No comments: