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A Social Change-Maker and a Dreamer: Olive Schreiner’s Figures for an Ideal Future

By Jessica Ampel

Abstract

Social activist, theorist, and author Olive Schreiner dreamed and demanded that others dream as well. Living in the Victorian era, a time of extreme change but also rigid cultural values, she dreamed about an ideal future characterized by gender equality, sexual equality, and racial equality not just in her own “homes” of England and South Africa, but globally. However, for Schreiner, dreaming was not enough; we must act on our dreams in order to make the necessary social change to reach an ideal future. Schreiner acted on her own dreams for social change throughout her life by theorizing, joining important social movements, and combining each of those actions into her art of writing; these efforts were not mutually exclusive. Schreiner saw the importance of the work itself. The beauty is in what we do to attain our goals. The beauty is in how we get to a more just future. Important biographical moments and pieces of her political writing paired with her allegories titled Dreams unite to illustrate a radical social change-maker demanding progress from others as well as from Schreiner herself

Topics: social activism, South Africa, Olive Schreiner, Victorian era, allegory, ideal future, gender equality, sexual equality, racial equality, social change, English Language and Literature, Gender and Sexuality, Politics and Social Change, Race and Ethnicity
Publisher: Creative Matter
Year: 2020
OAI identifier: oai:creativematter.skidmore.edu:eng_stu_schol-1037

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