“In the moral, intellectual and physical cultivation of both sexes should we seek, as we can only find, the source and security of happiness and human virtue. Prejudice and fear are weak barriers against passions, which inherent in our nature and demanding only judicious training to form the ornament, and supply the best joys of our existence, are maddened into violence, varied with as pernicious indulgence.” (Doc #2) The efforts made by the feminist movement of the Antebellum-era set forth a precedent for the expansion of women’s rights in the decades following and up until present day. The patriarchal society that had controlled the nation since its birth was finally met with opposition from those who had been oppressed for so long. Through the dismissal of restrictive gender roles and expectations, the voices of women were finally allowed to influence decision making, and ultimately create changes that would promote equal opportunity for all
The late 1800s contested traditional American ideals and with the ending of the Civil War came recognition of previous social injustices. Imagine growing up in a family where all of your female role models were widows. Kate Chopin was raised in a unique situation that opened her eyes to the unsatisfactory condition of women at the time, prompting her to examine and unintentionally create the Feminist movement. Although this is Chopin’s recognition point, it should be noted that while writing she only considered herself as a modern writer who never doubted the potential strength of women. The Awakening took heavy criticism at the time but later served as motivation for a new generation of women who aspired to create their own social condition
However, a change in tone and message of these women became a bitter pill that men and most women were unwilling to swallow. Men could not stand to be lectured by a woman. After all, the woman’s place at that time was below a man and thus, every word uttered should be carefully examined. Additionally, men were used to be bosses and the ones giving lectures and directives to women. Men were like lords while women were their slaves.
Searching for a feminist voice in Chopin’s work is much easier now because of all the groundwork that feminist activist have done over the years. Chopin’s stories often depict women as silent, passive and incapable of expressing themselves or their desires in her earlier work but as she grew as a person and author women changed into being more vocal and active (Cutter). Her work as a whole usually shows a pattern of women’s voices being repressed, such as in Desirée. Women today can take away from Chopin the relationship between men and women in her stories and how little women had any say in their lives. It also shows the reader how far the evolution of feminism as
During the Victorian Era, women are looked down upon on, and the idea of this is being expressed in many ways in daily life. Their clothing were tide and inconvenient to restricting them to fulfill daily tasks. The main character Edna wore different clothes from other mother women to resemble herself rather than doing what others expects from her. Kate Chopin, one of the greatest American writers who believed in Naturalism, implies her perspective of the restrictions for women and the societal expectations that placed on women into her writings. The idea of the desire of freedom but inability to control it, and eventually yield in front of the societal expectations.
She extensively wrote against the evils of slavery but all her works had an element of the women. She was of the view that women must be given equal status as men. She herself was brought up in an atmosphere that encouraged equity between the genders and even after her marriage she was encouraged
She is a woman who doesn’t follow the normal etiquette. Madame Reisz is unmarried and has no children and she lives on her own. Madame Reisz is an artist that plays the piano, she also inspires and helps Edna to follow her dreams of becoming an artist. Madame Reisz is described as a, “disagreeable little woman, no longer young, who had quarreled with almost every one, owing to a temper which was self assertive and a disposition to trample upon other the rights of others,”(37). Madame Reisz is considered the odd one out because of the life style she chooses to live.
In a literary article,The Role of Women in Othello: A Feminist Reading states that,” Society weighs heavily on the shoulders of women; they feel that they must support the men and defer to them, even if the actions of the men are questionable” (Literary Articles). Although Emilia does not ever say these powerful words out loud, she is still willing to not follow her husbands commands despite his strong character. Emilia proves again that she has powerful thoughts when she stated that,”Let husbands know, Their wives have sense like them; they see and smell, And have their palates both for sweet and sour As husbands have’ (Othello IV.3.92-5) Emilia contends that women are physically the same to men,they both get distraught and have issues that trouble each other, they should treat each other similarly. Women can still analyze literature about the inequality and rights for women through many of the injustices that are modern today.
The way women and men have been treated has improved significantly, however, as true as that may be the social barrier restricting all genders has not completely vanished. The gender expectations still live within societies. Social expectations have been implemented since the start of civilization; humans have built social barriers such as gender expectations and unspoken rules that have tried to restrict women from pursuing their goals, and even at times, to be rejected by society and their families. In The Awakening written by Kate Chopin, she writes about a girl named Edna who experienced a harsh aftermath of defiance to the societal expectations in her society, because of social expectations she had to struggle to overcome the judgment,
Women such as, Mary Wollstonecraft, a women’s advocate, who demanded that women be given proper education and opportunities and be allowed to grow in terms of a whole to equal those of men. They recognized and pointed out the causes of women suppression; false moral codes and traditions which only strengthen such stereotypes. Virginia Woolf in her book, ‘A Room of One’s Own’, writes about how women should have a space to themselves in which they are free to do as they please. She fortifies the thought that, women should be financially autonomous as well as professionally. Woolf’s writing had witnessed the great shock of the First World War, causing rifts to appear in the conventions of the then present society, creating a rapid and vast change due to its economically and social effect on the people.