Nineteenth Century Short Stories

1280 Words3 Pages

Nineteenth Century Short Stories In this essay, we will try to depict the position of women in the 19th century through the short stories we have studied. We will be comparing the different views and roles of women in The Unexpected by Kate Chopin, News of the Engagement by Arnold Bennett, The Half Brothers by Elizabeth Gaskell and Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver by Thomas Hardy. In those days, Victorian women had to get married in order to get taken care of by their husbands. They didn't go to school, therefore had no education and could not get a job. If they did not get married and their family was not rich, they would most probably end up in squalor or prostitution These four short stories could be divided into two main themes. In The Unexpected and in the News of Engagement, women want changes and the writers are trying to show that a woman can have a more important role in a society than that of a spouse and a mother. Whereas in the stories by Gaskell and Hardy, the authors portray typical feminin existence, without a life of their own, devoted to their family and entirely dependant on their husbands or fathers. Kate Chopin and Arnold Bennett were both great admirers of Guy de Maupassant and we can perceive that strongly in their writing. They both dealt with the issues of woman rights and experience. The two stories we studied from them have both a "twist-in-a-tail" ending and make us reflect strongly on the position of women in the 19th century. The Unexpected is a story of a man and a woman, engaged and deeply in love. When Randall has to leave for a while, their "parting is bitter" and the time during which Dor... ... middle of paper ... ...utiful wife afterwards but her husband sensed she did not love him. He reproached her not being "in the same mind that he was" when she defended Gregory. At this, she took to her bed too early and gave birth to a son. However, she died a few days later. William never came over his grudge against Gregory and prefers his real son. At the end, Gregory dies saving his half-brother, an act at which his father realizes all his sins against his stepson. Gaskell deals wih the same theme as Thomas Hardy, however she is far more sensible and serious. She shows what terrible consequences can a marriage have when the woman goes into it only for financial security for her or her children. She is convinced that love and marriage should never be separated and the only reason they were, is the wrong position of women in her society.

Open Document