Feminism

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Largely throughout the history of the United States of America, women have been intimately oppressed by their spouses in collusion with a patriarchal society. The Realist literary period saw no exception to this oppression of women. The Realist period, which lasted approximately from 1865-1910, involved many injustices on women, women’s rights, and equality. Males were supreme to females throughout this period, and women were denied many basic freedoms, including the right to vote. Women were regarded as frail, unequal, and inferior. However, the marginalization of women in this period did not go without protest. Women began to have an active voice on issues pertaining to their own rights as the end of the Realist period neared. Headways into women’s rights were made in this period around the turn of the century. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman chronicles the oppression and deteriorating sanity of Jane, who is being confined in a room by her physician and husband. This story is critical in telling of the oppression and subordination of women to their husbands throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin depicts a frail woman, who dies after a fright from her husband, who she believed was dead. The Awakening by Kate Chopin details the life of Edna Pontellier, who seeks individualism and life away from the control of men. Edna Pontellier assists in representing the audible and vociferous women’s rights movement that arose towards the end of the 19th century. American women in the Realist literary period encountered three elements that defined their societal status: oppression, inequality, and activism. Women were constantly oppressed in the 19th and 20th centuries, through... ... middle of paper ... ...en endured throughout the Realist literary period. This oppression has evolved into strong female business figures. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” shows the perceived inequality and inferiority of women throughout this era. This lies in contrast with strong, powerful female officials, such as Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chopin’s The Awakening illustrates a literary attempt at women’s activism. Women’s activism is still present today, and is seen in the recent happenings at the Plymouth High School baseball and softball fields. Women have evolved past their positions as domestic keepers that were subordinate to men to active, equal members of society. Feminist literature has aided this evolution over the year. Women have overcome oppression through activism and garnered more rights since the termination of the Realist literary era.

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