“Remember that forgiveness too is a power,” she continues, “to beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.”(135) This powerful message speaks to human behavior no matter the societal construction. Marginalizing women in feminist groups and Gilead is not a matter of controlling power. Instead, Offred believes “it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it” (135), warning society not to forget how to treat others and learn from past mistakes. Sexual objectification, patriarchal authority, and lack of solidarity are methods to silence women. Women in The Handmaid’s Tale are marginalized to critique utopian feminism.
According to Kniesler, [t]here is no one ideal woman, just as there is no ideal feminist…Hermione is a feminist role model because she grasps the foundations of feminism – sexual equality – and remains true to herself, overcoming the pressure of society and tradition. Part of the reason Hermione is such a solid character and powerful feminist role model is because she refuses to be shackled by the role of supporting character and establishes an identity for herself within Harry’s narrative. Hermione achieves her personal goals through combining her own ambition and drive with the support of her friends and mentors; meanwhile everyone – fellow characters and readers alike – obtains access to a new understanding and respect for gender equality (101-102).
Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre embraces many feminist views in opposition to the Victorian feminine ideal. Charlotte Bronte herself was among the first feminist writers of her time, and wrote this book in order to send the message of feminism to a Victorian-Age Society in which women were looked upon as inferior and repressed by the society in which they lived. This novel embodies the ideology of equality between a man and woman in marriage, as well as in society at large. As a feminist writer, Charlotte Bronte created this novel to support and spread the idea of an independent woman who works for herself, thinks for herself, and acts of her own accord. Women of the Victorian era were repressed, and had little if any social stature.
Gilman’s narrator suffers from the patriarchal construct of her society but in the end shows that the cult of true womanhood can be broken through. While the narrator’s intense imagination would have allowed her to excel in writing being subject to the cult of true womanhood subdued her potential causing her to revolt against society. Gilman illustrates the oppression of women in society through the characters of the narrator, her husband John, John’s sister Jennie, the nanny Mary and, of course, the woman in the wallpaper. According to Welter, “religion or piety was the core of woman’s virtue, the source of her strength” (44) because if they were pious than “all else would follow” (44). In a patriarchal society religion was valued in the cult of true womanhood because it did not take women away from the home (Welter 45).
Tess longs for the freedom to choose her own lover yet she knows she is a tragic product of her past. Similarly, Eustacia’s obsession with leaving Egdon Heath is exclusively dependent upon whom or what will help her finally leave the land she so passionately despises. However, Hardy brilliantly establishes the idea that although both women may not have the freedom to make the decision they personally want, they still have a choice. Nevertheless, both Tess and Eustacia constantly make the wrong choices. In a society that condemns women’s choices that step outside of social boundaries, Hardy must maintain a sense of stylistic neutrality.
Overall F. Scott Fitzgerald’s visualization of women in The Great Gatsby demonstrates women living a life controlled by men and fortune. It is apparent that Daisy is conscious to this and decides she’d rather continue leading a materialistic life under Toms control. Fitzgerald’s female characters all follow a rigid pattern of social code, making them uniform and almost object like. Not only are the social contexts of the 1920’s highlighted throughout the text but also is the use of blatant sexism towards women, especially the violent mistreatment of lower class women. Jordan Baker breaks the social conformity of the 1920’s, creating the possibility of a brighter future in the gender balance between men and women in the future.
They hope or may even pray that one gets a chance to bear the Commanders child. The feminism is taken to the extremes with coinciding sex, secrecy escaping rights. Overall, Gilead is not a feminist society since women’s rights were taken away as a result of dehumanization and oppression of women. There is more a vision or hope of feminism that is present. The women try to lives there lives with some happiness and freedom, however it is hard since they are constantly watched by either the Aunts or the eye and have to abide strict rules.
She surprises the patriarchal society by ignoring her role to play as a wife and mother. The idea of motherhood is a very dominant theme of this book. Edna wants to live with her own identity instead oonly identifying through the role of Raoul and Etienne’s mother and as Leonce Pontellier’s wife. Edna started to notice her desire of a life life of freedom and individuality contradicts society’s expectances of whom she should be. She wants to rebel against society’s imposed beliefs.
Her women stand at the cross roads of traditions. They seek change but within the cultural norms, seek not to reinterpret them, but merely make them alive with dignity and self-respect. Her women seek anchorage in marriage. They looked at it as an alternative to the bondage imposed by the parental family and opt for it. We see, her women protagonist caught in the conflict between responsibilities to oneself and conformity to the traditional role of a wife.
This statement shows that the only reason that one would be ashamed of it is because of society says that one should be. She feels that the restrictions that society has placed on women has made it impossible for her to pursue any other lifestyle. She demonstrates this by saying, "It's far better than any other employment open to [women]... It can't be right, Vivie, that there shouldn't be better opportunities for women." Shaw is attempting to evoke sympathy for the character of Mrs. Warren by pitting her against a society that is against her.