Nineteenth Century Short Stories Essay

Nineteenth Century Short Stories Essay

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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.

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