Women In Literature Essay

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For thousands of centuries literature has been used as a clever device to show the negative outlook in which society has on women at that time. The common theme of men exploiting women for personal gain and using their heavy-handed power to make women feel inferior can be seen in writings from the ancient Greeks all the through authors of the 20th century. Writers and intellectual thinkers such as Plato, Peter Abelard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Henrik Ibsen, and even women such as Virgina Wolfe, and Fatima Mernissi have all written about the struggles caused by domineering men which women have fought against for so long. It is not until the late twentieth century that we see a positive almost spiritual view of women from the stories told by Gao Xingjan in his book One Man’s Bible. The 1994 publication of Fatima Mernissi’s memoirs of her girlhood in a harem spoke powerfully in favor of women shedding prescribed gender roles in favor of embracing their own identities. It is books such as Fatima’s and Gao’s which will help carry out feminist movements into the 21st century.
In recent literature we frequently see a negative view of women from male characters. These writings are a direct reflection of society’s views today; but what needs to be recognized is since the dawn of the world’s first authors the negative view of women has consistently been prominent in literature. The view of women as undesirable lovers was an extremely important view in ancient Greece. In Plato’s Symposium the idea that male-male relations were much more beloved and genuine than female relations, and that a woman’s existence was important solely for the element of reproduction, which would allow for humanity to continue on. In Plato’s book, the characters spend ...

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... struggles in their day-to-day lives to subvert these rules placed upon them by men within their lives and within the society. It is every woman’s dream to trespass the boundaries made for her by others. The lives of the child’s mother, aunt, grandmother and others bring out the importance of every day resistance and its role in woman’s liberation
All of these works of literature show a very slow and tedious development and change in literature of the negative, oppressive views of women. By the time we reach the end of the 20th century there is a huge leap in development within feminist ideals and the view, which men have of women. This is also the first time we see a novel, which is used to empower women to become independent of the sometimes-tyrannical ruling of men and become individuals who think for themselves and do not allow others to take advantage of them.

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