She uses the foil to explore how Irene and Clare experience womanhood differently and connects it to the expectations of women in the 1920s. She mainly uses motherhood and marriage to exhibit these differences in their lives based on off race. She uses motherhood to show how Clare hates being a mother because of her fear of her husband finding out she’s black through her daughter’s skin tone. Irene appreciates being a mother even though she sacrifices her own desires for it; she understands the huge responsibility that comes with being a mother and embraces it. Marriage is used to portray Clare’s fear of her husband, and it shows Irene’s insecurity in her marriage when she suspects Clare and Brian are having an affair, yet her faith in her husband when she blames herself.
Through characterization and vilification, Joyce Carol Oates emphasizes both the wickedness and vulnerability of her female characters. Although Oates’s writing is predominantly seen as feministic or through a feminist lens, Oates says she is "very sympathetic with most of the aims of feminism, but cannot write feminist literature because it is too narrow, too limited” (Chell). While Oates may not directly say she writes feministic literature, the topics she writes about include the recognition of the difficulties specific to a female writer according to Chell. In many of her novels, her writing can actually be seen as both feminist and antifeminist due to her use of diction and characterization. The main character in the novel American Appetites, is Glynnis McCullough.
Between theme, conflict, and gender stereotypes, A Secret Sorrow and “A Sorrowful Woman” have much to compare. For example, the theme of the two stories is sorrow. Not only is it stated in the title of both stories, but it is implied throughout the text. The sorrow lies in the feelings of Faye from A Secret Sorrow and the woman in “The Sorrowful Woman”. However, Faye feels she is a woman who cannot do enough, whereas the woman feels she does too much.
Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird explores the question of whether humans are naturally social or individual. It tells the story of a young girl finding her place in society, deciding whether to conform to her aunt’s standards, her classmates’, or her own. This coming-of-age tale is interrupted by the trial of a black man named Tom Robinson who is accused, on circumstantial evidence, of raping a young white woman named Mayella. Scout is called out because her father is defending Robinson, which most Maycomb citizens don’t appreciate. People’s innate tendency is to drift towards a group setting and fall into place with a community by following their standards.
She is taken in by a local family, but eventually goes back to live with her abusive parents. Pecola’s parents hate themselves and each other which is expressed in equal measures of violence and neglect. Pecola is raped by her father and impregnated, but the child does not survive premature birth. Eventually, Pecola pleads with a town mystic to grant her wish of having blue eyes, believing this “mark of beauty” will finally earn her the love she so desperately craves. Pecola finally loses her sanity, believing her wish granted, and spends the rest of her life in a world of fantasy on the edge of
In turn, 16 year old Amanda "rebelled" against her family and eventually married a black man. Tara is Amanda's daughter who now has to deal with societal pressures from being mixed. Lydia has her reputation to uphold through her daughter's rebellious actions, but in trying to maintain a good image she changes the way she treats her family and gives in to societal pressures that she faces. On the contrary, Amanda modifies her actions based on her belief of equality and completely rebels against what her society claims is the right thing to believe. Tara experiences the other side of society with her grandmother and gets her first taste of the bitter world that racism is a part of.
Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” is a story about the isolation of an individual through acts brought upon herself because of jealousy and sibling rivalry. The narrative is told through the older sister’s perspective and she is simply referred to as “Sister”. All of the characters in "Why I Live at the P.O." show a family that paints the reader a picture of comical dread: The narrator who leaves her family to live alone because of an argument that stems from sibling rivalry and a family that instead of showing comfort, love and togetherness further push her away by verbally and physically abusing (Mama slapping Sister after mentioning Cousin Flo(98)) her to the point where she had to move out. .
Celie was raped by her father, had her two children taken away from her, and forced into marriage, where she is more a servant than a wife, before she was in her late 20’s. She had to live a life of ignorance and isolation until a women named Shug Avery came into her life. She opened Celie’s eyes to see the world in different ways and Celie admired her for that. Being a black women in the early American 1900’s was a life full of keeping your mouth shut, just to stay alive. As Celie grows up, she learns to be free from society's standards for women like her.
The main character of The Yellow Wallpaper is an unnamed woman from the upper-middle class. A dignified wife and mother, she experiences a nervous breakdown, and her husband decided to rent a distant country manor to create appropriate conditions for the woman’s recovery. The closer analysis made his benevolent intentions look more like an attempt to incarcerate the lady and limit her of activities she needed for improvement of her physical and mental state. The man believed he made effective decisions in his fight with a typical female hysteria. But, as a result, the character started to hallucinate and see a woman, imprisoned in the pattern of the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom.
The arrogant, prejudice, and strong woman the reader sees in the story is actually a cover up. Mrs. Turpin uses her neat and tidy social hierarchy to comfort herself. What is she without the titles that southern society lends to its citizens? She does not know. After the teenager attacks her, she wrestles with herself and even with God on the subject of her identity.
In the article "In Search of Identity in Cisneros 's The House on Mango Street” Maria Elena de Valdes describes Esperanza as “a young girl surrounded by examples of abused, defeated, worn-out women, but the woman she wants to be must be free’’ (de Valdes). Esperanza desires to be like the woman in the movies “with red red lips who is beautiful and cruel” (88). Esperanza witnesses the abuse of her female neighbors by their husbands and wants to become sexually independent, not subjugated by any man. Esperanza does not want to “grow up tame like the others who lay their necks on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain” (87). After dinner, Esperanza “leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate,” (89) revealing her aspiration to be strong and independent.