The Feminine Mystique Analysis

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In Betty Friedan’s novel, The Feminine Mystique, she addresses a problem deeply buried within women up until the beginning of the twenty-first century. A problem with no name, that makes women feel desolate and purposeless, forcing them to ask themselves “is this all?” Norma Jean toils with this very same question in Shiloh, a realistic fiction short story by Bobbie Ann Mason. The marriage of Norma Jean and her devoted, yet inactive husband Leroy falls to shambles when he is injured from work and has to remain home. They wander aimlessly around each other, much like ghosts, withholding their need to confide in one another, which inevitably leads to the end of their marriage. As Norma Jean redefines gender roles in her household, she feels…show more content…
Leroy is determined to build her a house-a real home- and even has blueprints completed but despite his motivation, Norma is unhappy with the thought of a log cabin. As Leroy says “I am going to build you a house, I want to make you a real home,” Norma passes it off by saying “I don’t want to live in any log cabin” (Mason 4). His dream and her rejection are symbolic of their discontent relationship. His idea of a home is with her, but for Norma, it is not. The concept of “his dream” does not fill the void in her chest longing for a change. Another perspective is that Leroy’s inability to accept Norma’s adaptations leads to her pulling away from him. On page six Norma is speaking with Leroy about her new college English class and her papers. He cannot comprehend the need for this higher education because “driving a rig, nobody criticized his english.” Although this instance is almost insignificant to most, it shows their different views of life as well as them being out of tune with what each other’s desires. After Leroy almost mocks her attempt for a better education she dismisses the importance of it by simply calling it “just something to do” and leaves the table, once again disappointed in the way the conversation played

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