The Second Sex And Arrogant Beggar By Anzia Yezierska

978 Words4 Pages
This proposal will identify the social construction of gender roles for women as the “other” in the primary source writings of Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Arrogant Beggar by Anzia Yezierska. Beauvoir’s Second Sex provides a primary source evaluation of the historical distortion of women’s role in society as the “other” through patriarchal traditions that have no basis in genetics or science. Yezierska’s experiences as a Jewish woman in New York “workhouses” define the subjective gender roles assigned to women as being submissive and “invisible” in patriarchal American culture. These two primary sources define the subjective and non-scientific distortion of women‘s roles as the “other” in patriarchal European culture as a historical…show more content…
This novel tells the story of the cultural and social aspects of patriarchal culture, which attempt to subdue Adele Lindner, a young Jewish woman living in New York City during the turn of the 20th century. Adele must continually face patriarchal oppression of the “workhouse” under the authoritarian management of young women to be domestic servants, instead of being trained as independently minded businesswoman in the community. Arthur Hellman, the manager of the working house, is a major barrier to Adele’s education, as the Beauvoir’s theory of women as the “other” is expressed in her critical opinion of the taskmaster of the working house:
What wonders that man could do for me! By one little bit of love, he could make me the equal of his sister, his mother…If I struggled for a thousand years, could I ever get into his
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Adele had learned these values by living in Poland, which possessed a far more egalitarian view of women’s roles in the community, which allowed Adele to evaluate American patriarchal society from a differing point of view: “I—a servant? Even in our worst poverty in Poland none of our people have ever been servants. Tailors, storekeepers, but never a servant. Should I be the first to go down? In this perspective, Beauvoir’s theory of the historically constructed gender roles of women as the “other” are subjective, since many differing societies can possess egalitarian views of women: Beauvoir focused not on an individual consciousness but on a relationship…She redefined feminist discourse through her epistemological privileging of female voices.” These are important aspects of Adele’s view of the world, since she has an alternative perspective on how women should be educated from her experiences in Poland,. Beauvoir argues that women can make an actual choice about their gender role identity, since many subservient aspects of female identity are artificial creations by patriarchal social institutions. Certainly, Beauvoir’s The Second Sex defines the social aspects of women’s choices, which Yezierska implies in her main character, Adele, as she struggles to eventually start

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