Patchwork Fever Analysis

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Women have had a harsh reputation since the beginning. The first woman, Eve, was condemned for eating an apple and no one will ever overlook that, but many people do overlook or don’t know that Adam ate the apple as well. Only Eve, the woman was faulted for it. In the nineteenth century, there were gender role expectations and to go against it would lead to a misfortune. The story, “A Patchwork Fever”, by Charlotte Mary Yonge, is the story of a young girl, Frances, who must uphold the responsibilities of the house and family while her mother goes on a trip to visit her ill mother. During her mother’s absence, she should clean, cook, wash, etc. as all women are expected to do these duties at that time. However, she is an educated girl and builds…show more content…
In both stories the girls desire is considered a “fever”. Why is a woman’s desire to do art or make a table cover labelled as a symptom of sickness? In Frances story, the title contains the word, “A Patchwork Fever”. Therefore, from the beginning of the story, the readers can assume the patchwork task is leading to a sickness of a character. Frances had a desire for the patchwork and began to make that her focus, while putting off the duties she is relied upon to do. Additionally, in the story, “Psyche’s Art”, it states, “...it was a new disease called the Art fever, and it attacked the young woman of the community with great violence.” (Alcott 2170). They only label it in such a way because of women being attracted to such work and it was against society. Society didn’t view women doing art work or interwoven rather than their household duties. Household duties were to be the primary focus for women. For Frances her patchwork became more significant to her and similarly, Psyche’s art work was more imperative to her than the household duties placed on…show more content…
By giving more attention and focusing more on their desires rather than their duties. In the story, “A Patchwork Fever”, it states, “Every spare moment did Frances spend on that work, and some moments that could hardly be called spare. She durst not neglect her father’s meals, and she kept the rooms tidy and the children neat…” (Yonge 2155). Her desire of the table cover made her put her duties on hold, but depicts a greater picture. Regardless of whether it be a table cover, education, etc. that is her desire, it made her cross the line, which were against the gender expectations. She did her duties at a minimum just so her father wouldn’t notice that she is putting her household chores aside. Women knew what they were relied upon to do, but since the nineteenth century, woman have been attempting to pursue what they want to do. Psyche on the other hand, tries to consolidate her desire and duties to try to please both. In the story, “Psyche’s Art”, it states, “But being very much in earnest about doing her duty, not because it was her duty, but as a means toward an end, Psyche fell to work with a will, hoping to serve both masters at once...Psyche found duties and desires desperately antagonistic.” (Alcott 2177). She wanted to do both, but it wasn’t working. To be devoted to the household work didn’t allow her to have time for her art work and vice versa. Her desire and the duties she was expected to do, were
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