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Assignment 3
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Assignment 3

2 min read

When I saw that the word "think" appeared 505 times throughout Pamela, I was reminded of Armstrong's claim that female characters could safely act as vehicles for subversive political thought, as well as our general discussion about this period's budding interest in the interiority of people. Upon further investigation, I found that Pamela most often employs the word "think" to describe her own thoughts. This may have been obvious, considering she is the narrator and is writing about what is happening to her. It makes sense that she's sharing her thoughts. But that's from the perspective of a modern audience accustomed to this focus on interiority. At the time, to simply look through a history of Pamela's mind, her private feelings and musings on her situation, must have been just as alluring as the scandalous events that transpire within the story. Perhaps this is another way that Pamela was meant to be a vehicle for subversive ideas, beyond just her womanhood: she is not pushing the ideas on us intentionally, they are merely part of the content of her private correspondence, thus they do not feel so much like an agenda on the author's part. Furthermore, our position as the audience is that of voyeurs at best, intruders at worst, a position that becomes more salient when it's revealed that Mr. B has done the same thing we're doing. Thus, we may be more sympathetic or at least judge the ideas presented less harshly, given that we are not supposed to be seeing them.