Gender Roles of Women in Twentieth Century Literature Expressed

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The poem “Daystar” by Rita Dove is about a woman who is a busy mother that is tired of the burdensome duties of motherhood because it makes her feel confined to her situation in life. Alternatively, the poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a satirical poem that is about a girl who is intelligent and physically capable, but the characteristic that society places value on is her physical appearance. The poems “Daystar” and “Barbie Doll” are both representative of the gender roles and expectations of women in the twentieth century, the time that these poems were published, to be mothers and housewives. In the poem “Daystar”, it focuses on that women are expected to fulfill their place in society by becoming wives and mothers, which can lead to feelings of emptiness and resignation due to being exhausted and stuck. In the lines, “She wanted a little room for thinking/ but she saw diapers steaming on the line/ a doll slumped behind the door” (lines 1-3), the poet is talking about how the mother in the poem is tired of her duties of being a mother and would enjoy space to herself, because being a mother is not the only thing that she is. The lines, “She stared until she was assured/ when she closed her eyes/ she’d see only her own vivid blood” (lines 11-14) show the author is using a vivid description to describe how the mother longs for time in her day away from her job of being a mother. The poem shows that because society expected women to become mothers and housewives in the twentieth century, women felt that it was their place in life and often felt confined to it. “The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffer... ... middle of paper ... ...Barbie Doll” by Marge Pierce are both important because they portray what is expected out of women in society in the twentieth century. Both of them show that women are expected to be physically attractive and good mothers and housewives, even if women want something entirely different. These poems are important because even though there are still some of these social expectations of women, in modern times, much of it has been changed or done away with. It shows the progress that has been made regarding what society expects of women. Works Cited Dove, Rita. “Daystar” An Introduction to Literature. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. Pearson. 794. Print. Klein, Julia. "Is This All? ." Nation. 08 04 2013: 36-37. Print. Piercy, Marge. “Barbie Doll” An Introduction to Literature. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. Pearson. 614. Print.
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