Artifact Project: The First Margaret

The first of many Margarets
The first of many Margarets

This portrait is the first thing you see when you walk in my house. The portrait is of my great, great great great aunt. Her name was Margaret Wallace. She was the first Margaret out of five, three who are currently living. I am the fifth Margaret. My mother inherited this portrait from my great great grandmother, who when she died left this behind in her house. I had never seen it before, and when my mother put it in my house, at first I didn’t like looking at good ole Maggie’s face. But over the years, she has kinda grown on me, with her patient stare and pin straight nose.

After looking at Margaret for a little bit, I realized some symbolism lies in her portrait. She is swathed in a white, seamlessly weightless dress. The white seems to highlight her purity. The lighting is also upon her face, everything around her is dark. Her hair is also styled to be pulled up and shows off her neck. The rose also pinned on her left shoulder. The rose not only brings color but natural imagery. She is portrayed as a delicate woman. This made me think of the opposite of a delicate woman from around Margarets time, Susan B. Anthony. Susan was a quaker who was brought up in the early 1800’s with a very unique set of morals and ideals. She became aquatinted with Elizabeth Cady Stantoun. Elizabeth led her to join the women’s suffrage.  Susan went against her government for women’s right, in what Thoreau would call a “patriot, martyrs, reformers in the great sense” (Thoreau, 1859).  Susan was a reformer for the women all over the US of A She went against what her government thought was right, she used her conscience. Thoreau believes that most of the american people give up their conscience to the government and just live clueless lives. Susan broke out of that and realized that women should have just as many rights as men, especially when it comes to voting.

Thoreau, Henry David. Resistance to Civil Government. Norton Anthology b. New
York, NY: Norton & Company, 2007.

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