In The House of Mirth, Lily struggles with whether or not she should get married like all the other women that she knows, or if she should just accept the fact that she will not have a husband. Both Wharton and Chopin’s stories use similar themes and ideas in order to show that regardless of whether women were trying to find themselves or save themselves, things were different for them simply because they were females. In both The Awakening and The House of Mirth, the theme of “Freedom vs Slavery” is used to show that life was undoubtedly different for men and women. In The Awakening, the theme of freedom vs slavery is shown because throughout the novel it addresses that women are nothing without their men and that it is impossible for a woman to do anything better than a man.
During the late nineteenth century, the time of the protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman’s place in history was mostly confined to her children and her husband, with there being little of herself to enjoy. Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, embodies the triumphs and frustrations in a woman’s life as she struggles with handling strict societal demands. Defying the roles of a typical “mother-woman,” Edna battles with the pressures of her time that demand she be a devoted and controlled housewife. One of the first overtly feminist novels, The Awakening criticizes gender and social roles in ways that have now heavily influenced what we call feminism. One of the first ways that Chopin battles the nineteenth century Victorian era is with
Leading Ladies The novel Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell presents a series of vignettes about a wife, mother, and socialite who finds herself trapped in a materialistic society. Via her ordinary encounters (less the robbery incident) readers understand how the meaningless cultural forces of materialism and class expectations can lead to people feeling trapped. This idea also presents itself through the character of Sapphira Colbert in Willa Cather’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl. However, when one ignores class focusing on kindness instead, happiness is truly attainable as seen in Shadows on the Rock.
According to Priscilla L. Walton, author of He took no notice of her; he looked at me: Subjectivities and Sexualities of ‘The Turn of the Screw, a gender criticism of the Turn of the Screw, “The governess of the novel serves as a representation of the “problematic nature of single women and their sexuality” (Walton 349). Women with a job and no husband threatened the patriarchal society because she could not fulfill her motherly duties of having and raising children. But in some ways becoming a governess can fill some of those desires relating to children. Through being a governess, a woman can fulfill the raising children aspect of a woman’s identity as she was a substitute mother to the children she is caring for. A governess gets to take care of the children and raise them so that they are successful in the future.
Furthermore the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns gives people a way to see that not every woman in Afghanistan fits America’s stereotypical view of an Afghan woman. Not only that, but the book describes how speaking out allows one to break the single story. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam and Laila are constantly facing the challenges of the Islamic social construction and ideology for women. Mariam came from a poor family and her Nana strongly believed in suppressive roles of women in society. She believed that women should stay at home and do the cooking and cleaning.
The Awakening is a novel written by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. During this time, women were expected to be feminine, domestic, submissive and have many other, “desirable” traits imposed by Victorian society. In this novel, Chopin explores gender roles and the social restraints placed on women, shunning the idea of women having self-expression. Throughout the text, one sees the ways in which Edna Pontellier, the main character, struggles with finding her identity through confronting a society which shames independent women who have no desire to fit in the roles which have been assigned to them since birth. Edna finding it impossible to continue living after realizing or more like, awakening to this realization, therefore commits suicide
The authors, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, demonstrates how two women growing up together can lead to different point of views. In both stories, there is a woman – Sula in “Sula” and Dee in “Everyday Use” – returning home to find things the way they left them. Sula and Dee’s lives are considered very unconventional in comparison to their towns and families. In the case of Dee, she changed her name because, “I [She] couldn't bear it any longer, being named after people who oppress me." (Walker 1191)
A woman with an independent nature can be described as rebellious, passionate, and courageous. In Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, the reader is introduced to Edna Pontellier, a female who epitomizes the qualities of a woman with such an independent nature. Living in a “patriarchal society” that expects women to be nothing more than devoted wives and nurturing mothers, Edna attempts to seek out her true identity as it becomes apparent how unsettled she feels about her life. Throughout The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, dissatisfied with her duties as a mother and wife, decides to pursue her own interests and express her true identity, resulting in an awakening and her finding the courage to make the changes she deems as necessary. Edna Pontellier had two young boys, Etienne and Raoul, who were ages four and five, respectively.
In Atwood's book The Handmaid's tale, the main character Offred is a woman living in a theocracy who has been denied the right to own property, to work, and to read. She is also a handmaid, one of the few fertile women left in a future world whose only job is to provide children for whichever wealthy family they are assigned to. This book touches upon many daily issues that women face in modern society. Through Atwood's excellent use of symbols, this allows readers to make real world connections, thus, making the characters, plot, and setting seem more substantial. The most straightforward symbols in
Calixta's position is a clear illustration of these issues. The Antebellum era didn't have a found outlook for women's roles in society. Most women, like Calixta, were expected to become mothers and live out their lives working at home and raising a family. Now, let's look again at the storm and its relation to what Calixta is going through here. With this roadblock in the way, the Calixta and Alcee share a temptation to initiate the affair.
In the story “Desiree’s Baby,” Kate vividly shows how the racial and class-based prejudice prevalent in the society affects the protagonist, Desiree. As noted by Howard, Desiree is in a society where “Marriage was the goal of every woman’s life, service to her husband and her children her duties, passionless submission she assumed virtues, selflessness her daily practice, self-sacrifice her pleasure.” Desiree is shown to have no desire and identity of her own. She views life as being a good wife and serving her husband.
Many times authors choose to make characters, like Esther Greenwood from the novel the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, dynamic to display their internal struggle to make decisions based off of personal principles. Esther is misguided by society and the people around her, and only wishes to express who she really is. She is unable to do this because of the lofty standards for women of the 1950s, the choices of her mother and co-workers, and the invisible constraints of her own mind. Continuing throughout life, Esther attempts to fabricate her own world of misconceptions that hold her back.