Mary Wollstonecraft's The Subjugation Of Women

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From centuries, woman is struggling against the patriarchal subjugation and exploitation. Whether born in east or west, she is regarded as an other, an unwanted inferior being. Patriarchs try to control each and every movement of woman. Man expects woman to act according to his wishes and to achieve this goal of subjugation of woman, he employs every kind of strategy and literature is one of the means to achieve this end. Man written literature is full of women characters who are totally submissive to every will of man. Male writers present woman as an embodiment of sex and lust. Males consider woman as an object which they can mould in whatever shape they like.
With the advent of multimedia and spread of education, women have become increasingly
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Liberal intellectuals like John Stuart Mill has also supported women’ case. In The Subjugation of Women, he argued that women ought to enjoy equality in the social sphere, especially in marriage and condemned “forced repression” and “unnatural stimulation” (Castle 2007; p.95). Revolution was brought by Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex claiming “one is not born, one becomes a woman”. Beauvoir challenged the idea that a woman’s essence was distinct from man’s essence. Social construction was further criticized by other feminists and for Kate Millet, patriarchy is the root cause of subjugation of woman.
“Patriarchy is seen as male-centered and controlled and is organised and conducted in such a way as to subordinate woman to man in all cultural domains; familial, religious, political, economic, social, legal and artistic” (Abrams 2007; p.89). This patriarchal ideology pervades those writings which have been traditionally considered great literatures and which until recently have been written by men. Feminist critics analyzed these works to show what strategies are employed by male writers to maintain their control over women. They presented women as emotional beings who know no
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What Weales said for the women characters of Tennessee Willams is apt for Heer and Sehti, “women characters are more striking as the female characters have the quality to fascinate” (Weales 1965; p.321). Yet the narrative of Heer Ranjha is firmly characterized by patriarchal closures both in the structure of its episodes and in its rhetoric. It narrates the love tragedy of a daughter of Siyal clan in the context of a feudal set-up, who falls in love with a young man but their marriage is opposed by her family. Daughter’s love is sacrificed for the sake of kinship and her lover conditioned by prescribed gender role, fails the beloved at crucial moments.
The patriarchal discourse has consistently indulged in either a romantic glorification of woman or her arbitrary condemnation and the legend of Heer Ranjha is no exception. Like most of the traditional literature by men, this legend also presents what may be termed as “fictional woman” who is “a male-produced fiction” and suppresses the “historical” woman i.e. the real woman who remains oppressed under a biased value structure and obliterated by the cultural representations of
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