My Own Story: Inspiration for the major motion picture Suffragette

by Emmeline Pankhurst | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 1784871257 Global Overview for this book
Registered by stephjb of Torquay, Devon United Kingdom on 5/11/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by stephjb from Torquay, Devon United Kingdom on Thursday, May 11, 2017
Received in a Penguin ThinkSmarter giveaway

Journal Entry 2 by stephjb at Torquay, Devon United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 30, 2017
I saw the Carey Mulligan film, Suffragette, which includes story elements based on this memoir so I already had an idea of the treachery of the Edwardian era Liberal Government in addressing women's suffrage and of the state-sanctioned torture meted out to the women who fought for their - and consequently our - political rights. What the film struggles to put across though is the decades of peaceful and legal struggle that pre-dated the famous militancy of the immediate pre-war years. Explanations of that and why it was always doomed to fail forms the greatest part of Pankhurst's memoir.

Pankhurst describes her involvement in the suffrage cause from 1889 until 1914 when the outbreak of the Great War caused a truce to be called. She speaks directly to the reader in a calm matter-of-fact style which effectively contrasts with many of the horrors described. I was appalled at the condescension and open misogyny of the time. Everyday Sexism is still prevalent today, over a century later, but being faced with the ingrained attitudes experienced by Edwardian women showed me just how much has been achieved. I was surprised that this memoir was written with an American audience in mind, but found this helpful as Pankhurst does not assume her readers will be completely au fait with British political systems. Instead she clearly explains arguments and quotes speeches so I could easily appreciate her anger and frustration at being deceived and lied to year after year after year. Indeed, according to Pankhurst it was Establishment men who first explained to the WSPU that they would need to become violent in order to be taken seriously. Historically in Britain men achieve great social and political advances through violent means, so women who stuck rigidly to peaceful and legal methods could not possibly be as serious!

Reading Emmeline Pankhurst's memoir was saddening, but also incredibly inspirational. Her rhetoric and speeches stirred up some of the excitement in me that the original suffragettes must have felt as well as anger at realising this nation's Conservative political elite has much the same disconnection from the vast majority of Britain today as Asquith's Liberals did back then - but at least a few of them are female! My Own Story is a rallying cry to stand up for our heartfelt beliefs and remains just as relevant. Irresistible historic movements grow from tiny roots - theirs was suffrage, ours is environmental destruction - and we must use our votes wisely and at every opportunity.

Journal Entry 3 by stephjb at Torquay Indoor Market in Torquay, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, June 05, 2017

Released 3 yrs ago (6/5/2017 UTC) at Torquay Indoor Market in Torquay, Devon United Kingdom


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