Woman's World In The Old South Analysis

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Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South by Catherin Clinton takes a stab at deflating the common myth that women in the south were “chivalrous cavaliers and belles in hoop skirts” (xi). The majority of literature focused on plantation life is placed on the planters themselves, Clinton wants to redirect that focus to the women on the plantations. Her work is centered on the women of higher status, those living on plantations with twenty or more slaves, and their experiences. Clinton makes the argument that Southern white women experienced an oppression parallel to that of the slave class because of the patriarchal system. It is a far stretch to compare the lives of white women to the suffering endured by the slave class. White women may not have had an elite status in the patriarchal system, however, they did have options as to what they would do in their lives. On the contrary, slaves were given no alternatives to choose from. While there is no doubt that women of all classes experienced oppression by the patriarchal system, Clinton reaches too far when making her comparison to the lives of slaves.…show more content…
She describes how the women were seen as economic commodities. There were brought to the New World and married off to the existing men without a choice. After their marriage, they were bound to their positions as wives as well as managers of the household. Rigorous housework and management of the slaves were daily tasks for Southern white women. Clinton even makes the speculation that women living on smaller farms lived an easier life because there were fewer slaves. These women were often displaced, because their husbands’ strong desire to travel, and had to live dismal lives on the frontier. Women’s lives were very closely tied to their homes and families, while men were more inclined to the business world and often left their families alone when
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