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The Trifles of Femininity - Research Paper Example

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The paper "The Trifles of Femininity" highlights that even women who showed no signs of hysteria were often treated with this kind of isolationist approach by their men as a preventative measure to the eventual insanity that was thought to afflict most women…
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The Trifles of Femininity
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Download file to see previous pages Many women struggled with the constraints, knowing themselves to be far more capable than they were permitted to be and often snapping under the pressure of her constraints. Women who snapped either by leaving their families or engaging in some form of insane activity were considered hysterical or insane and were thus brought even more sharply within the boundaries of her male-defined world. These are the types of women who are often seen gracing the pages of the late nineteenth and early 20th century writers. One such example is the unseen female character in Susan Glaspell’s short story “Trifles”. In this story, the social beliefs of the time are reflected in the men’s attitudes making it clear to the other women why Mrs. Wright, in a moment of insanity, killed her husband.
Whether it was her father, her brother or her husband, the closest male relative in a woman’s life had total control over her body, behaviors and activities in this strongly patriarchal society. “Patriarchy is the system which oppresses women through its social, economic and political institutions. Throughout history, men have had greater power in both the public and private spheres. To maintain this power, men have created boundaries and obstacles for women, thus making it harder for women to hold power” (Kramarae & Treichler, 1985: 236). During this period in history, it was considered that a man who treated his woman harshly was somehow justified by her troublesome nature, even if that nature was not immediately apparent to outsiders. Women who struggled against these ideas were considered to be mentally ill. “Mental illnesses during the Victorian era revolved around the empowerment of men … Women were denied tasks such as reading or social interaction due to a fear of becoming a hysteric. Women were further forced into the stereotypical passive housewife role” (Frick, 2002). Numerous forms of treatments were devised and widely sanctioned to bring these women back into proper submission.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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