In the Victorian era, men and women based their connections on the formidable society that was there at that time. Qualities that were not wanted by the society were ignored and disregarded as inappropriate, thus making conduct in this era very stern and gender stereotypical. Women at that period had a distinctly strict way of life. The main role of a woman was considered to marry, to take part in their husbands’ life, and to take on their husbands’ interests and business. They were confined to live false lives and have false interests to please the Victorian way of lifestyle.
Although Walter does not deserve the power, the manhood of Walter Lee enables him to “control” the family. Conversely, Beneatha’s talkativeness and her aggressive personality are against how a 1950s African American should act. Ruth asks “Can’t you be a little sweeter sometimes? (Act 1, Scene 1)” to indicate the modest characteristics women should have. Furthermore, Ruth’s decision of abortion at the beginning of the play was unconventional since it was against gender expectation because it is against her duty as a wife and a mother.
Outline Question: How does the text conform to, or deviate from, the conventions of a particular genre, and for what purpose? Source: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Points: Pride and Prejudice received much criticism by authors, such as Charlotte Bronte and Ralph Waldo Emerson, for being a mundane book with female characters that fit the cookie-cutter image of English life. Pride and Prejudice deviates from the social norms it is being accused of by showing and portraying female characters going against what was expected of them. An example being the refusal of marriage that would be financially securing for the family. Pride and Prejudice also deviates from social conventions at that time because Austen writes Pride and Prejudice as a social satire and makes humor of the traditional roles of women.
Despite the fact that they were desirable creatures who provoked the attention of males all over the world, who’s beauty was appreciated and who’s input were vital when it came to keeping the household together and raising children; women did not have the ideal place in society. This was because they were seen as the weaker gender, they had to be satisfied with being ruled by males, and before the revolution of women empowerment, those who were feminists by heart had to suffer in silence. It was highly inappropriate for a woman to step out of line and in some countries such an action would even be punishable by death. The French constitution of 1792 banned women from public life, and Emperor Napoleon’s Civil code of 1804 was implemented in Europe, subsequently. This code denied women any legal rights and access to divorce, which meant that their husbands had control over them, confining them to a subordinate, domestic role.
Women lacked the freedom and independence they not only wanted but needed due to a society run patriarchal views that hindered the growth of women. Not only were they expected to reside in the home but women were also tied down through marriage with the expectation of blindly following their husband without challenging their authority. Kate Chopin’s short story, “Story of an Hour”, uncovers the chilling truth of how women were perceived to have longed and enjoyed marriage during the 18th and 19th century when in actuality many felt confined, trapped and imprisoned due to what society and men wanted them to do. The story reveals that the impending pressures of having to become a good wife and mother along with patriarchal societal oppression oftentimes pressures a woman into experiencing a psychological breakdown that can result in fatal consequences. Chopin begins the story with the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard, being told
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, the women of the lower classes were mostly excluded from the political matters. The role of women in society among the writers of the Enlightenment was a subject of intense debates. Most of the intellectuals of the Enlightenment often took a traditional stance on the role of the women in society. They viewed women as biologically and therefore socially different from men, destined to play domestic roles inside the family rather than public. In his book Emile, he described his vision of an ideal education for women and advocated that women should take an active role in the family.
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen used personal experiences throughout the traditional 19th century to shape the viewpoints evident in both Charlotte and Elizabeth on love and marriage and use their opinions as social criticism. Much like the traditional views of the 19th century, Charlotte Lucas believed that marriage was based solely on security and not on true love. She believed, “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or even so familiar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterward to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life” (Austen 30).
A Definition of Justice Equality is the well-known problem faced by women. It is the issue of how women have been treated differently from men who act as if they have a higher social position. Besides the equality issue, there is another problem faced by many women: mental abuse at home. The husbands are not literally abuse their wife, but how they act have made their wives live in agony. Subsequently, when the women as the oppressed party who have been treated unequally cannot demand such abuse to be punished since it is not written in man’s law, they will seek their own justice.
This assured financial independence, but also made clear that women were still dependant on their husbands for their income. Once men and women married, they should never get divorced. Separation was not even allowed, even if they did not love each other. This made women’s positions more difficult. Women who were married had neither civil rights nor civil qualifications.