Analysis Of Pathedy Of Manners

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Pathedy of Manners is a short story by Ellen Kay that contains complex themes of class, ambition, and the pitfalls of traditional success. It chronicles the life of a girl from her wild youth to her lonely adulthood. The poem begins by describing her as “brilliant and adored”. She is young and smart and she takes every opportunity to culture herself. However, this desire for refinement appears to be less about personal betterment, and more focused on ascending to a higher social class. She is described as learning the habits and the culture of the wealthy as opposed to being born into them. “She learned the cultured jargon of those bred/ to antique crystal and authentic pearls.” She marries a rich man and has an ideal marriage, and they go…show more content…
While the main character lives her life very successfully and seems to achieve many things independently, she still follows a path that keeps her from fully maturing as a woman. Early in her life she is very successful. She travels abroad, absorbs new cultures, and graduates from college. She marries the ideal husband and makes a beautiful home, but it does not fulfill her. The closer she gets to success, the further she strays from her own independence and self improvement. “She shuns conviction, choosing to infer/ tenets of every mind except her own.” Once she settles down with her family, she should be happy but is not. She has sacrificed her worldly ways and pursuit of knowledge for the comfort of traditional homemaking. While this may be rewarding for some, it quite obviously does not satisfy her. She relies on the wealth of her husband and sacrifices her own independence. Once her husband has died and her children have grown up, she has nothing in her life. She has focused all of her energy on wifely duties in her later years and in the end she is left with nothing. Even when her husband dies she considers remarrying as a way to fill the void. This poem serves as a cautionary tale to young women, encouraging the growth of independence over unquestioning devotion to a husband and family. It causes the reader to wonder if domestic life is the best choice for them and to evaluate the purpose it serves in society. I agree with the message this poem sends and think it is important to consider, but it should not be taken as the last word on the subject. Creating a home is very rewarding to some people and should not be viewed only as a way to keep women docile. This poem is valuable no matter how you interpret it, and it contains lessons that should be internalized and
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