In Reply to: Respectable Trade Question posted by Alexis Krivian on October 5, 2000 at 22:47:30:
1. Francis was paid a monthly stipend, negotiated between Josiah
and Francis' uncle.
2. Francis had the option (albeit an undesirable one) of divorce.
3. Francis had freedom of movement. She could have left her
husband. Indeed, if he was willing to have her back, she
could have moved back in with her uncle's household.
4. Francis had freedom of movement. She could go out of the
house whenever she wanted. (It is possible that some women
of the time, and even in the current period, end up in the
sort of bondage associated with feudalism, but clearly this
was not the case with Francis.)
5. Francis was protected by law from the sort of physical
abuse that was common to slaves. (Again, sometimes in the
period in question, as well as in the current period, men
exercise the sort of physical control of and violence upon
the person of women that was common to feudalism or even
slavery, but this was not the case with Francis and could
not have been, given Francis' enculturation and "class back-
Sara indicated early in the film that she was essentially a
partner with Josiah, albeit not an equal partner. The enterprise
was, to a significant extent, a family enterprise within which
Sara had certain rights and responsibilities, but with the lead
position (director-position) held by Josiah. It is likely that
Sara had her own share of the profits of the enterprise, although
I do not recall this as having been stated explicitly in the film.
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