As far many New Woman writers, Egerton conceptualized marriage as a social institution which forcefully repressed and reshaped female desire and their social conditions. According to Laura Christman “Egerton’s analysis of European woman’s oppression attends mostly to the sphere of ideology and in particular, to what she sees as the artificial social convention which prohibit women’s natural expression of sexual and maternal desire” (Christman,46). In her short stories, the protagonists have tried to break this institutional bondage and emphasized the identity of the female protagonists who experience their desire, free from any confinement. In the story “A Cross Line” the protagonist does not find the husband spiritually and intellectually equal to her and desires him only on a physical level. Despite knowing the fact that she is married, she falls in a extra-marital affair with a stranger.
In the Victorian era, women were forced to marry, as they needed the security of a man. However, Austen uses logos to question the real inequality in the Victorian era’s ideology, that a woman is incomplete without a man. This allows the reader to analyse the state of society from a different perspective. Austen also starts her sentence with an assertive tone further supported with her firm word choices, through using the words, ‘…truth universally acknowledged’. These words are important in her building ethos allowing her to deliver her controversial message.
For instance in the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bennet insults women by saying that his daughters apart from Lizzy “are all silly and ignorant like the other girls”. Austen here makes a statement about women and their intelligence. Women themselves show willingness and acceptance of the patriarchal values. They do not resist and acknowledge the belief that men are superior and this is clearly shown in Pride and Prejudice when women accept their fate. At surface reading Mrs. Bennet could be seen as a hypochondriac women but literary theory has suggested that women were seen as inferior and always complaining.
The main negative takeaway from 1920s’ feminism it that it is regarded as mostly nonexistent. This proved untrue by the aforementioned paragraphs. This outcome is due to how reformers and men viewed the behavior of women at the time. The actions of women were considered as an excuse to be lewd. Holiday-Karre expresses that “Writers like Kenneth Yellis and Lewis Ernberg discuss “new women” as threatening to traditional morality and as rebelling against older sexual mores.” (2016, p. 323).
Austen and Proposals: Why the lack of feeling? Throughout all of Jane Austen’s works, courtship and marriage both play central roles and their dominant presence reflects the importance of women finding a respectable husband during Austen’s time. However, while marriage proposals between two lovers are often high points in novels, Austen treats them almost as an afterthought. Critic G. H. Lewes in an 1859 review deemed that this apparent lack of emotion was a characteristic flaw on Austen’s writing, “She has little or no sympathy with what is picturesque and passionate. This prevents her from painting what the popular eye can see, and the popular heart can feel (THE NOVELS).” While the Austen’s marriage proposals tend to leave some readers emotionally dissatisfied, this plainness is purposeful in that it highlights the main themes of Austen’s works and comments on marriage itself.
However, it is evident from many of the novels published during this period, that such harmonious assimilation, even in fiction was not available to them. Thus, in many novels of this phase, the feminine heroine was seen as growing up in a world without female solidarity, where women in fact police each other on behalf of patriarchal tyranny. Also, the deficiencies of feminine novelists were seen in male portraiture which were attempts to conceal these deficiencies. The model heroes were thus the product of female fantasies about how they would act and feel if they were men. Furthermore, the use of male pseudonyms by women writers is another significant marker of this phase.
Divakaruni, a product of the postcolonial feminism, creates a female universe out of the conventional male world. In her works, conventional geography is rejected. The rejection of other male definitions of the world automatically follows. She places her women characters, mostly with good educational background and yet hailing from unfair traditional family set-up, in conflict with a parochial society, and depicts their struggle to pop out of the shells. They break free themselves from the past conventional emotions and resolve to move into the new world of American ideologies due to severe hardships inflicted on them in the name of Indian tradition and custom.
Wollstonecraft argues for the rights of women in her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. She opposes that only men can receive education. Women are taught by their mother the knowledge of human weakness, “cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety” (2.2). They should be beautiful, then men will protect them. Wollstonecraft argues that women focus on being beautiful and stay indoors, they can’t really run reason because they depend on men.
Mansfield notices there was a pattern going on with the feminist characters and there was a lot of proof of the tradition needed to be changed for the good. A lot of things were being analyzed which was not beneficial to the gender culture. Mansfield short story was a breath of fresh air when the truth started to become our reality. Mansfield spoken on many different gender roles, stating were do a female stand in a man’s worlds. Many authors happen to back up Mansfield when straightforward and expand on the truth about sexuality as