Patriarchy In Henry James's The Bostonians

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This paper is a rereading of Henry James’s The Bostonians in an attempt to answer the question ‘can woman be a patriarch?’ Or how far woman’s quest for being a patriarch is a success or failure. First of all, there must be a reference to the origin and meaning of patriarchy as well as its historical development.
Patriarchy is a central concept that is prevalent in large parts of the world. In the sociology of gender the origins of patriarchy are closely related to the concept of gender roles. The positions of men and women pass through several studies in fields like religion, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and psychology. These studies get to various interpretations which conclude that there are natural differences between men and women. These differences lead to normal inequalities and sexual divisions of labor between both genders. These studies refer to patriarchy as a historical and temporal phenomenon.
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Their understanding grew out of the patriarchal interpretations of the Old and New Testament writings, Greco-Roman culture, and the thinking of the Church Fathers who extended the dualism of flesh and spirit, body and intellect to the sexes. Women were viewed as highly sexual beings inferior to men by nature. In this seemingly rationally defined natural order, it followed that the man, as the superior being, was head of the household. The woman fulfilled her primary role in marriage through the procreation and nurture of children. The education of children, an intellectual activity, was the man’s responsibility (Beach 89). Therefore the women of the Middle Ages were totally dominated by the male members of their family. Those women were expected to instantly obey not only their father, but also their brothers and any other male members of the
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