Nellie McClung

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA, November 1996

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        Helen 'Nellie' Laetitia Mooney was born October 20, 1873 in a log cabin on Garafraxa Road, two kilometers from Chatsworth, Ontario. She and her family moved to Manitoba when she was six years old.

        One of Nellie's best influences was her mother. Her family's influence was no doubt the reason she became an activist. Her mother thought that every child had the right to an education, and her whole family encouraged her to learn all she could. (9, Wright) Nellie at age ten, went to school at Northfield School. This is where her education started.

        Nellie's dream was to be a teacher like her sister Hannah. Teaching was one of the few jobs open to women. She started her 'voyage' at age fifteen by passing the Second Class Teachers' Examination. She went on to earn a higher teaching certificate at Winnipeg Collegiate in 1893. She went on to teach at Hazel Public School near Manitou, Manitoba.

        We study Nellie McClung because she was an internationally celebrated feminist and social activist. Her success as a platform speaker was legendary. Her earliest success was achieved as a writer, and during her lengthy career she authored four novels, two novellas, three collections of short stories, a two-volume autobiography and various collections of speeches, articles and wartime writing, to a total of sixteen volumes. Two of her most famous books are: Clearing In The West and The Stream Runs Fast. All this served as a 'pulpit' from which McClung could preach her gospel of feminist activism and social transformation. She was convinced that God's intention for creation was a 'Fair Deal' for everyone; and that Canada, particularly the prairie West, was a perfect place to begin to bring that about. Women's suffrage, temperance and the ordination of women were keystones in the battle -...