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In the case of Kalustian’s “Rhea Papers”, the primary sources play a very important role.  Though one can develop a sense of the tasks Rhea undertook, the primary sources bring a new dynamic to his history.  My personal favorite commentary by the author was his description of Rhea as “The tall, overpowering, imposing Texan” at the bottom of page 260.  Research of secondary or even tertiary sources can only provide information to a certain degree.  The primary sources, such as File No. 1, the “Special Passport”, offer concrete evidence to back up the description.  The reader/researcher becomes more directly involved and almost gets a hands on sense with the subject.  The primary sources, for example the notes from various meetings, make the happenings more realistic; one can continuously spout facts, or provide a scenario and allow documentation to do more of the speaking.

My Source:

My source is a poem written by Rachel Speght.  At the time of its publication, the Querelles des Femme, a debate that argued either the positive or negative qualities of women was still raging.  This particular poem was written in 1617 as a response to a vicious, extremely misogynistic piece written by Joseph Swetnam.  Rachel Speght, was 14 years old when she wrote this poem and proceeded to go on to write another 2 responses to Swetnam.  At this point in the 17th century, there were many literary responses posed, demonstrating both sides.  Because of the mindset of the time, the misogynist texts are seen as the most memorable, as they demonstrated the most excepted set of ideas.  However, there were just as many sources in support of women, providing positive arguments regarding their abilities and rightful places in society.

The conditions were harsh for women, but favorable arguments surfaced, nonetheless.  I will use this source to lead in to discovering the effects of women’s arguments during the Querelles des Femmes.  There are many possible problems with these ideas, especially now, as I’m still not 100% sure as to the direction in which I’m going with this paper.  However, the one I fear the most is that this source will turn out to be a dead end.  Not much is known about the life of rachel Speght, so that could prove difficult when I need to support evidence from her, but I could always shift my focus to incorporate a central idea as evidence instead.  I’m also concerned that I will have difficulty finding complete versions of many of the arguments, treatises, poems, etc, written by women to use as primary sources.


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