Analysis Of Olive Schreiner's Woman And Labor

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Olive Schreiner was a South African author who spoke out against the social injustices of her time. She advocated against British imperialism and campaigned against racism and sexism in the British Empire. Olive Schreiner focused on women 's emancipation, and she displays this through her book titled, Woman and Labor. As early twentieth-century South Africa was under the influence of the British, Olive Schreiner fought to change the perceptions of women in the society she lived in. In Woman and Labor, Olive Schreiner provides readers with an idea of how women were portrayed and treated in twentieth-century South Africa. Throughout the text and based on its historical context, the female body during Olive Schreiner 's time was perceived as…show more content…
The result of this was an alteration of society 's relation to nature. The text goes over the change of role for women due to this alteration, and it argues that women have always taken part in domestic labour before it was being eroded by technological advances. (Green 60) Schreiner explains through the text that industrial expansion was a huge factor in reducing and restricting the traditional roles of the female body: “For the present, we see no such natural and spontaneous division of labor based on natural sexual distinctions in the new fields of intellectual or delicately skilled manual labor, which are taking the place of the old.” (160-61) This portrays the access of labour through an appeal to the detrimental effects of technological progress for a women in the early twentieth-century. (Green 60) The “place of old” became elusive, and was taken over by the new. The female body was becoming degenerated as a whole by this technological growth. (Green 60) The text again displayed the constraint that these technological…show more content…
Schreiner writes: “The mere fact that, of the handful of women who have received training and been allowed to devote themselves to abstract study proves of necessity on the part of the female sex in the direction of mathematics, as compared to labour in the fields of statesmanship, administration, or law; as into these fields there has been practically no admittance for women. (161-62) It can be revealed through the text that during early twentieth-century South Africa (which was under British influence), there were no authoritative female figures in power in regards to the government. The text argues against the fact that there were no women in the field of training and labour; that women are fitted only for specific tasks. Given the history of the subjection of women to the domestic sphere, the tasks of which women are best suited for are unknown at the time. (Clayton 108-9) The women were not seen as fit to be able to hold those positions that they desired, and they did not agree with this according to Schreiner. She did believe that they had those needed skills and abilities. She states: “Even one individual in a society should be debarred from undertaking that form of social toil for which it is most fitted, makes an unnecessary deficit in the general social assets. The infantile instruction was the field of the female; that

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