“Women have the domestic lifestyle and men have the public lifestyle” (McKee 9). McKee explains how women are given their roles to take care of children and the home because of the title of a mother. Women weren’t considered emotionally stable to be the provider in the family in the nineteenth century. (9) McKee defines the term masculinity as being characterized by dominance and aggression, whereas femininity being passive and submissive. “During these time periods if men or women switched these traits it was known to be unacceptable and inappropriate” (McKee 33).
Edna doesn’t fit in this “mother woman” society. She wants to be unique and above the rest of the females. To add on, the writer argues, “An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing her soul’s summer day…” (The Awakening 9). The thoughts of Edna are confounding to herself since she doesn’t know what she wants in life.
The movement for female right is one of the important social issue and it is ongoing reaction against the traditional male definition of woman. In most civilizations there was very unequal treatment between women and men with the expectation being that women should simply stay in the house and let the men support them. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, and Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, are two well-known plays that give rise to discussions over male-female relationships. In both stories, they illustrate the similar perspectives on how men repress women in their marriages; men consider that women should obey them and their respective on their wives is oppressed showing the problems in two marriages that described in two plays. Therefore, in this essay, I will compare two similar but contrast stories; A Doll's House and Trifles, focusing on how they describe the problems in marriage related to women as victims of suppressed right.
The enforcement of specific gender roles by societal standards in 19th century married life proved to be suffocating. Women were objects to perform those duties for which their gender was thought to have been created: to remain complacent, readily accept any chore and complete it “gracefully” (Ibsen 213). Contrarily, men were the absolute monarchs over their respective homes and all that dwelled within. In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, Nora is subjected to moral degradation through her familial role, the consistent patronization of her husband and her own assumed subordinance. Ibsen belittles the role of the housewife through means of stage direction, diminutive pet names and through Nora’s interaction with her morally ultimate husband, Torvald.
Nora attempts to keep to herself, but continues to live in fear of social and moral oppression. As laws were still being introduced to better the expectations and roles of members of society, the ideologies behind dominance and submission were prominent. Considering the lack of women representation in judicial and legal systems, women were confined to dealing with laws and decisions made by men and conduct assed from a masculine standpoint. During this ride for liberty and repression, women were trapped in regards to the authority they had outside their domestic sphere – which reiterates the idea that women were treated as nothing more than property. The 1800s living doll house displayed a women’s state of submission in society, legal assessment by male authority and state of social oppression.
Ibsen's A Doll's House In A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen criticizes the patriarchal society he lives in by using a fictional woman, Nora, to show women oppression. She begins to feel constrained by her husband, so much so that she feels the need to mask her true identity and deceive him. She feels that deceit is her only way out from the social constraints. Ibsen moved around a lot in his life and observed many societies. Much of his writing satirizes the shortcomings of society and the people within it.
Women were seen as highly susceptible to becoming mentally ill because of this belief. Women were subject to only be “housewives.” The novel, Alias Grace, accurately shows the construction of this gender identity through society, sexuality, and emotion while challenging it through Grace’s mother and Mrs. Humphrey. Society shows the stereotypical way of thinking in the Victorian era: women are subordinate to men. This can be seen through Mary Whitney. Mary Whitney tells Grace what her goals should be and how she should act: “It was a custom for young girls in this country to hire themselves out, in order to earn money for their dowries, and then they would marry, and if their husbands proposed they would soon be hiring their own servants in their turn and then they, ―would be mistress of a tidy farmhouse, and independent” (Atwood 182).
Writers like Rousseau and Dr. Gregory desire that women remain servile, confined to the home, and concerned with matters most concerned with rendering themselves pleasing to men. However, Mary Wollstonecraft challenges these societal views and argues for the liberty and gender equality denied to women. According to Wollstonecraft, Dr. Gregory and Rousseau have contributed to “render women more artificial, weaker characters…and consequently, more useless members of society” (23). These ideas are degrading and diminish societal potential for women. Wollstonecraft focuses on the claim made by Rousseau t... ... middle of paper ... ...n’s beauty and charm and more specifically her lack of a proper education makes her outwardly subordinate and dependent to man, whereas education allows her to be independent—education allows women to have and everlasting virtue to fall back on once their charm and beauty fade throughout their marriage.
Throughout history, women have struggled under the oppression of men and society. Equality was inexistent for females; they were denied power and autonomy. A woman was nothing more than a pretty face who lived for the sole purpose of serving her husband. Nora, the protagonist in Henrik Isben’s A Doll’s House, confronts similar restrictions from her chauvinist husband, Torvald Helmer. She is a conventional housewife who eventually rejects her stifling marriage and her domineering husband.
Her opinions and physical activity is constantly oppressed and dismissed by the husband. The story portrays John’s dominance over his wife. As well, her deteriorating sanity is evidence that the male discourse is not superior and, therefore, enforces feminist pedagogy. In addition, the environment in which the wife is oppressed represents the dominance forced upon her by her husband. The feminist literary lens addresses the imprisonment of women, and the imbalance of power between the two genders.