Male Dominance in Today's Society Essay

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Male Dominance in Today's Society

In today’s society, women and man compete on somewhat of the same level. It’s hard to imagine not even one hundred years ago women lacked a voice not only in society but also in everyday life. Male dominance is consistently practiced throughout the world, some women choose to fight that which oppresses them while others are too timid to accept the challenge. With the dawn of a new century at hand, Kate Chopin proved to be an American author ahead of her time. In her short story entitled “The Awakening”, there is a strong theme of female rebellion against societal norms. While Adrienne Rich has developed a very serious poem through “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers.” The protagonist in her poem lacks the strength that Edna Pontellier possesses to overcome her own oppression.
“The Awakening” fell under heavy criticism by many analysts when the book was published in the late 1890’s. Within the work itself, there are many examples of this rebellion from the main character Edna Pontellier: blatant disobedience to her husband, sexual promiscuity, and maternal neglect to her children. Edna’s “awakening” transpires on many levels. The first, which was entirely unorthodox for the time, is her public disobedience to her husband, Leonce. Upon returning to New Orleans from the summer at Grand Isle, she becomes aware of the discontentment in her social and domestic associations. The affection she felt for her husband is gone and there is only bitterness left in its place. Because of these emerging feelings, Edna begins to cut her ties with the New Orleans Society. She discontinues her reception days at home and her connections with her husband’s business retinue. She takes her insurrection


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... Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 149-150

Dianni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Eble, Kenneth. “A Forgotten Novel: Kate Chopin’s ‘The Awakening’ “ in Western Humanities Review (1956). Vol. X No. 3: pp. 261-269. Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 147-148.

Seyersted, Per. (1969): Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography (1969) : p. 246. Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 1981. 150-152.

Ziff, Larzer. “An Abyss of Inequality: Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freedman, Kate Chopin” in The American 1890’s: Life and Times of a Lost Generation. (1966) pp. 275 -305. Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 5 . Detroit: Gale, 1981. 148-149

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