Essay on Brooklyn and the short story Silence

Essay on Brooklyn and the short story Silence

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In the novel Brooklyn and the short story Silence, both of the lead female characters live their lives in silence. Although, they have very strong feelings towards the things they experience, they do not outright express them to anyone. Neither one of them really lets anyone in to know how they are feeling; they hold in their emotions. Eilis from the novel Brooklyn is being sent to America for work by her mother and sister. She is opposed and she wished her sister would take her place. Instead of voicing her feelings to her family she keeps quite and goes along with what they have planned for her. When Lady Gregory from Silence was cheating on her husband and realized she didn’t really like him much she also kept quite. Lady Gregory’s story took place in the 1880’s and Eilis’ takes place in the 1900’s. During these times women were limited in power and this explains their characteristic of being submissive.

In the early 1900’s and long before then women were not treated equally to men. Your feelings were not valid because of your gender and any ideas or beliefs you had were ignored. In the novel Brooklyn and the short story Silence the female characters show just how unfairly a woman was treated. Eilis from Brooklyn was a very indecisive and submissive main character. She allowed others to make important life decisions for her. Specifically, when her sister Rose decides to send her from Ireland to America to work. (Toibin, pg 27) Lady Gregory from Silence knew her intelligence, but was also aware she couldn’t upstage her husband. If her husband and his colleagues were discussing a topic she had knowledge on she couldn’t speak, because she had to seem feeble minded. “She had read all the latest books and she chose her words slowl...


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...ve and afraid to speak their minds. Our society has grown tremendously and allows women and men to be considered each other’s equals. Women are now allowed to do things they could never dream of before 1920’s. Women no longer need to fall silent when there is something they need to say.



Works Cited

• "The Fight for Women's Suffrage." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.
• "Gender Roles in the 20th Century." By Megan Worley. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.

• Toibin, C. (2009). Brooklyn. New York, NY: Scribner.
• Toibin, C. (2011). Silence. New York, NY: Scribner.
• (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/document.html?doc=13&title.raw=19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote
• Social change in twentieth century ireland. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.skoool.ie/skoool/examcentre_jc.asp?id=1918

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