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Representation of wives over the century - Essay Example

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Over the course of the century, wives have been expected to be cheery homemakers and child bearers who are committed to domestic duties as evidenced in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker and Stephen Crane’s The Bride Come to Yellow…
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Representation of wives over the century
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Download file to see previous pages Wives had a societal connotation and were expected to satisfy the social characterisations ad expectations of women.
Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is a controversial character, considering the time that the novel was written. Edna is against all the cultural anticipations and made-up roles of women in the nineteenth century including denying being a mother or wife. She prefers being herself, a self-defined individual, rather than the societal structures of maternity that coerce her to be titled as Leonce Pontellier’s wife and mother of Raoul and Etienne Pontellier. Edna represents wives who seek autonomy and individuality, and inopportunely, this is against societal constructs. Women are male-defined and society-defined creatures, and are either seen as mothers and wives, or considered as exiles. Since Edna is not expected to live like a man as she desires, she commits suicide to free herself from the desolation.
In Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker, Tom Walker’s wife is a high-tempered and strong woman who regularly engaged in wordy conflicts with her husband. Mrs Walker fought with her husband regularly, instead of being submissive as the society demanded. Tom loathes his wife to an extent that when she is taken by the devil, he is more concerned of the lost valuables than his wife, Mrs Walker. The couple have similar behaviour, with no difference on who is the man or woman in the relationship, to an extent that Mrs Walker desires to be better-off than her husband. This shows her endeavour to demand equality between the sexes in an age where the society stipulated that women be submissive.
Jack, in Stephen Crane’s The Bride Come to Yellow Sky, uses his bride as a source of social status in the society. He does not marry a woman he does; he marries her to stay alive and escape Scratchy’s brunt. Marriage was valued during that time, and wives were an indispensable property. Jack’s wife ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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