During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity. Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women.
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A woman’s main duty was to raise her children, and focus on the home. Author Stephanie Coontz states in her book about sixties women, “The women is not to expect a whole lot out of life. She is someone’s keeper she is her husband and her children’s keeper.” (Coontz, 42) Back in those days, the husband was the head of the household; he made all of the decisions. If there was a divorce to take place the wife would end up with nothing, all the husband’s earnings and property belonged to the husband. Even though, most women in the sixties were housewives there was a small percent of women who actually worked.
Evans, Sara M. Born for Liberty – A History of Women in America. New York: Free Press Paperback, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc., 1989 Ferguson, Robert A. The American Enlightenment 1750-1820. London, England: Harvard University Press, 1997 Jacob, Margaret, and Mack, Phyllis. Women and the Enlightenment.
Intellectual pursuits were strongly discouraged; instead, a True Woman was expected "to fulfill herself in the 'instinctive' arts of child rearing, domestic pursuits, and spiritual comfort".” So women could attend school to help their children, but could not take their education any higher because of being a woman and that would make the... ... middle of paper ... ... of America to now, the women that started the movements for women’s rights would be grateful for what has and is still being accomplished because that is what they wanted for themselves. Works Cited: • Cruea, Susan M. “Changing Ideals of Womanhood during the Nineteenth-Century Woman Movement.” ATQ: 19th century American Literature and Culture 19.3. 2005. 187+. Literature Resources for Gale.
"The cultural work of the Type-Writer Girl," Victorian Studies, V40 n3 (1997): Spring, pp. 401-426. Web. 26 May 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3829292?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to work: a history of wage-earning women in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).
“Marriage and Divorce.” Victorian Britain, An Encyclopedia. New York. Garland Publishing, INC. 1988. Moore, Melissa. “Women’s Issues Now & Then, A Feminist Overview of the Past 2 Centuries.” 2004.