Feminist Criticism In Kate Chopin's La Blanche And Desiree

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Kate Chopin has been referred to as a pioneering feminist writer. Feminism is the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way (dictionary.cambridge.org). Stemming from Feminism, is Feminist Criticism, a literary lens that “examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppressions of women” (Tyson 83). Patriarchal attitudes dominated the minds of American people in the nineteenth century and Chopin’s work, “Desiree’s Baby”, encouraged women to look at their situations from a critical point of view, one in which women were unfairly treated because of their status as female. This essay takes a closer look at La Blanche and Desiree, two women with vastly different racial and class backgrounds who, in their own ways, are supressed by the traditional gender of the society in which they live and as a result, inadvertently conform to it. One of the major aspects which Feminist Criticism focuses on is the traditional gender roles that women are expected to fill. Traditional Gender Roles, according to Tyson, facilitates the premise of Biological Essentialism emphasises the belief that “women are innately inferior to men” (85). Women are expected to be submissive, emotional and weak. Men, in contrast, are expected to be the epitome of strength, be rational, decisive and protective (Tyson 86). Biological

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