The Fancy Ball

The Fancy Ball

As Morning you’d have me rise

On that shining world of art;

You forget: I have too much dark in my eyes –

And too much dark in my heart.

“Then go as the Night – in June:

Pass, dreamily, by the corwd,

With jewels to mock the stars and the moon,

And shadowy robes like cloud.

“Or as Spring, with a spray in your hair

Of blossoms as yet unblown;

It will suit you well, for our youth should wear

The bloom in the bud alone.

“Or drift from the outer gloom

With the soft white silence of Snow.”

I should melt myself with the warm, close room –

Or my own life’s burning. No.

“Then fly through the glitter and mirth

As a bird of Paradise;”

Nay, the waters I drink have touch’d the earth:

I breathe no summer spice.

“Then -” Hush: if I go at all,

(It will make them stare and shrink,

It will look so strange at a Fancy Ball,)

I will go as – Myself, I think!

-By Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

While in my last semester in college I took an English class titled American Women Writers.  I had seen this class for some time over the years and wanted to take it really, really badly but it always was filled before I could try and sign up, so luckily I grabbed it right at the end.  The class covered nineteenth century female writers and three modern writers.  One writer, Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt stuck with me.  Piatt wrote a poem (posted above) called The Fancy Ball and I just fell in love with it.  I guess you could call me a feminist because I am always speaking for women’s rights and growth.  Of course really all equality but in this course specifically I sounded like a man hater, I am not but I digress.

The Fancy Ball has two speakers.  One I know for sure is a female, the other speaker which uses the quotations, I believe, to be a male if not male ideals.  Each capitalized word: Morning,  Night, Spring, Snow, Paradise symbolize some form of “femininity” that society portrays upon females.  Morning symbolizes young and fresh.  Night is the risky, sexual side.  Spring is a more maternal symbol like fertility and motherhood.  Snow is purity, the most controversial nowadays.  And lastly Paradise is the exotic, unreachable, untamed idea that women are.

Now, in my class, I wrote a paper using The Fancy Ball as a basis for most ideals or characteristics and their achievement toward female self-expression in Romance novels, specifically the male’s view. LOVE TOPICS LIKE THIS!

I would like to elaborate that female self-expression is an interesting topic.  So much so that it is hard to tell if female self-expression is fully female oriented.  Meaning is it possible for female self-expression to occur without a male counterpoint?  Because in most Romance novels, specifically modern Romance novels, and to be honest some older works like The Awakening by Chopin, focus on female self-expression through romantic emotion or sexual encounters that incorporate some form of freeing and emotional/physical gratification.

With that being said, I have a question for my small followers or any other person who reads this.  Do you agree that male influence has created the female characteristics in society as well as in Romance novels?  Do you believe that female self-expression is obtained/can be obtained without a male influence?  What do these characteristics do to female writers as they write Romance novels/works? What are your opinions?

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