Feminist scholars have tended to regard women in the nineteenth-century United States who elected to remain single as champions of women’s autonomy and as critics of marriage as an oppressive institution. Indeed, many nineteenth-century American women who participated in reform movements or who distinguished themselves as writers and professionals were single. Yet this view of single women tends to distort the meaning of their choices. The nineteenth century saw the elevation of marriage for love as a spiritual ideal. Consequently, it became socially acceptable for women not to marry if such an ideal marriage could not be realized with an available suitor. Thus, many women’s choice to remain single reflected not a negative view of marriage but a highly idealistic one.
1. The author of the passage implies that many nineteenth-century American women chose to remain single because they
A. believed that marriage required them to give up much of their autonomy
B. had attitudes toward marriage that were influenced by contemporary reform movements
C. wanted to take advantage of increasing opportunities to distinguish themselves as professionals
D. doubted that their own marriage would live up to their notion of what a marriage ought to be
E. had a negative view of marriage fostered by a change in social attitudes during the nineteenth century
Consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply.
2. The author of the passage suggests that the feminist scholars mentioned in the first sentence distort the meaning of certain nineteenth-century American women’s choices by
A. ascribing those choices to a particular attitude toward marriage
B. ignoring evidence about single women’s motives for becoming writers or professionals
C. overestimating the number of nineteenth-century American women who were single by choice.