This patriarchy “affected the conditions of the lives and actions [of women]” (Young, 2009, 56). Despite gender norms and the structure of society in the Victorian era, by “mid-nineteenth century, it was apparent that women – or at least some of them- were growing dissatisfied with traditional roles” (Smith-Rosenberg, 1973, 339). With the opening of state “insane” asylums, and in the midst of social change, the structure of society (in which men dominated) made women vulnerable to being labeled mentally
John Stuart Mill first developed the idea of a social tyranny in the middle of the nineteenth century, during a time when radical political upheaval was taking place and the process of governance was becoming more democratic. Despite the weakening of the once absolute power of political institutions, one source of despotism remained: that of society itself. Social tyranny occurs “when society is itself the tyrant” (Mill 9), creating its own ‘laws’ and collectively administering justice upon those who break them. According to Mill, this form of oppression is especially dangerous, since it “leaves fewer means of escape… enslaving the soul itself” (Mill 9). In Maxine Hong Kingston’s “No Name Woman”, the village forms a social tyranny through its total subjugation of the private lives of its constituents, its strict code of sociocultural norms, and its enforcement of these practices via unanimous social excommunication.
In a male dominated society, women are forced to conform to the moulds that have been prescribed for them. When they do not fit into the categories that have been defined for them, they face ultimate rejection and suffer the consequences of non-conformity. This male dictated view of women is evident in the writings of 19th Century women writers who unconsciously view society through the perspectives that have been imprinted in their minds by society. A case in point is Kate Chopin through her work, Desiree’s Baby which chronicles the tale of an abandoned baby that is raised by a wealthy couple, the Valmonde’s. They were childless and raised her lovingly as their own.
The society of that time had ideas and expectations on how women should behave. They were expected to be humble, pure, innocent, good wives and mothers. Furthermore, they were seen as inferior to men in almost every aspect. Feeling himself as a 'misfit ', Hardy was always in a disagreement with editors and critics, thus he had to edit his texts to conform the Victorian Society. In this way, he identified himself with the suppressed classes.
The Victorian Era was a time of limitations, especially towards women, and a simple mistake would cause you to suffer social ostracism from others. Stoker had grown up and lived through the Victorian Era, his successful novel was written during the era as well. In the view of a feminist, the text had wrongfully shown the accusation of women being weaker individuals. First, the women
The late 19th century was period of repressive Victorian era societal and gender roles that plagued and deprived women of their agency and rights. This was period of patriarchal hegemony that impacted women in both the private and public sphere of society. By, attempting to navigate through this malaise of despondency and loneliness, Moreover, Gilman not only faces an existential crisis, but the narrator had to confront her depression as well as evaluate the conflicting relationship with her
Oscar Wilde wrote his plays against the backdrop of the Victorian English society. It therefore helps to discuss the salient aspects of the Victorian society. Victorian England is known for many paradoxes -- glaring contrasts between the rich and the poor, insistence on morality on the one hand and the practice of cynicism on the other, blooming creativity pitted against blatant constriction, imperial grandeur since Britain was then ruling almost one fifth of the total surface of the earth and domestic squalor since the majority of people did not have decent means of livelihood, and finally collectivity dictated by tradition opposed to the rapidly developing individualism. The class system denied the talented members of the lower classes access to social and economic advancement. The upper classes alone had the privilege of working in the government, the armed forces, and the church, while trade was monopolized by the rising middle class.
Men treated women as second class citizens in society during the early 1900s. Even with the oppression of women in society in this time, many women have struggled to expand their roles, and acquire additional rights. From my perspective, the authors of these stories are indirectly trying to tell us how much oppression the women have been through during the time. “The Thing on the Doorstep” is a short story about a woman, Asenath, who is not in control of herself because her father, Ephraim, possesses her body after he is deceased. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story about a woman who suffers from mental illness.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy depicts the inner lives and hardships women in a patriarchal society face. Roy provides a reflection of the social injustice in India in the form of abusive and tyrannical males who abuse women - both physically and psychologically. The novel is a vehicle for the author to express her disillusionment with the postcolonial social conditions. This response will critically analyse the lives of the female characters in Roy’s novel, specifically Mammachi and Ammu and explore the ways they have been marginalised.
The social stigma that women are housekeepers and should be confined to the four walls of the house is perhaps a viable cause of gender disparity. They should not raise their voice regarding their fortune for the sake of the prestige of the family. In patriarchal society a lot of weightage is given to men.” The root cause of gender inequality in Indian society lies in its patriarchy system.
In The Making of the West it states, “Its leadership argued that despite men’s promises to protect women in exchange for their inequality, the system of male chivalry had led to exploitation and abuse” (Hunt, 780). The men that were in charge were doing nothing to help the women. The women in the working class were especially bothered by not having suffrage and not having equal rights. Helena Swanwick, a German journalist, wrote The War in Its Effect Upon Women. In her book, she advocated equality in suffrage, social, economic, and political status for women (Sourcebook, 408).
In the modern world today, people find their own ways to protest things that they are upset with. In Victorian England, Charles Dickens protested against many aspects of Victorian life in his book, A Christmas Carol. One example of Victorian life Dickens criticized was the treatment of the poor. Another aspect Dickens protested was the attitude of the rich, and how the rich forsake the poor. One final characteristic of Victorian life that Dickens attacked was working conditions for everyone.
Wollstonecraft’s views on marriage and motherhood were also views of other theorists as many individuals in the eighteenth century, had similar views as Wollstonecraft, and wanted to distinguish the gender inequality in society. A theorist, Anna Wheeler (1785-1848), expressed her views towards gender inequality and outlined that she felt that it was unfair that women were treated differently to men. Wheeler stated, “women’s enslavement and passivity as due to their economic situation, enforced dependence” (Michelle, 2005). The quote explains that Wheeler and Wollstonecraft, both described women as being a slave to men, and expressed that due to the laws in place at the time, women had to endure the cruelty and injustice, and submit themselves
It depicts the social status of how men acted towards women during the 1900s. Minnie Wright’s character shows the marriage of a lower class, however, it had been unwoven because the marriage ended in the death of her husband. Susan Glaspell ’s play “Trifles”, was written in the context of American Literature, with its depiction of Minnie Wright’s plight and lower class status. Glaspell has similarities to Virginia Woolf’s writing in “Professions for Women” about the relationship of social status and women’s subordination and oppression.
Although Trifles and “The Yellow wallpaper” were both written by women, they were also apart of the time period. Gilman wrote stories as in this such for women to gain confidence and encouragement for a positive change in themselves (Tanski). Writing these books during a time they were in could help women become strong and, furthermore, be more independent. " The Yellow Wallpaper" is Gilman's semi-autobiographical story of taking Dr. S. Weir Mitchell's "rest cure" to alleviate her depression after the birth of her daughter (Nadkarni). She also suffered from depression.