A Feminist Reading of A Woman on a Roof Essay

A Feminist Reading of A Woman on a Roof Essay

Length: 1012 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Feminist Reading of  A Woman on a Roof  


   The short story, "A Woman on a Roof," by Doris Lessing may seem to be about a few men who become annoyed with a woman because she suns herself out on her roof. The men feel that she is a distraction and are obviously bothered by her presence. They are not happy that this sunbather is out there on display and illustrate these feelings of discontent by constantly whistling and yelling at her. The men also make several rude and sexist comments to her throughout the story. In a time period such as the one this story takes place in, males were considered far superior to women, and comments such as the ones the men make would not be considered out of the ordinary. What is extremely surprising, and quite out of the ordinary, however, is the fact that this woman did not even seem bothered by their actions. When this is taken into consideration, it is revealed that the real source of the men’s anger toward the woman is not simply because she was sunning herself, but rather, was due to the fact that she showed indigence toward them in a time when women were expected to submit to men’s demands.

The men in this story obviously have strong feelings of superiority and power over the opposite sex, and expect that women will naturally give in to their demands. These feelings are illustrated as early as in the opening paragraph, when they see the woman for the first time. While working, "They made jokes about getting an egg from some woman in the flats under them, to poach it for dinner" (Lessing 856). Such a comment demonstrates the men’s beliefs about gender roles: that women will be home, not working, and eager to serve men. The comments continue; later on, when referring to the woman as ...


... middle of paper ...


...woman And, while she may not have earned women the right to vote or gained women admission into institutes of higher education, she stood up for herself in a normal everyday situation, and that’s a start. She is a woman who was one of the exceptions in her era; she was not just a woman on a roof, but rather a hero of her generation.

Works Cited

Allen, Orphia Jane. "Doris Lessing." Short Story Criticism, vol. 6. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990.

Atack, Margaret. "Doris Lessing." Short Story Criticism, vol. 6. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990.

Lessing, Doris. "A Woman on a Roof." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. 856-862.

Works Consulted

Baron, Mary. "Doris Lessing." Critical Survey of Short Fiction, vol. 4. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1993.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

"Woman Hollering Creek" - Dreams vs. Reality Essay

- The story “Woman Hollering Creek" by Sandra Cisneros describes the lives of Mexicans in a Chicago neighborhood. She depicts the life that women endure as Latino wives through her portrayal of the protagonist, Cleofilas. For Cisneros being a Mexican-American has given her a chance to see life from two different cultures. In addition, Cisneros has written the story from a woman’s perspective, illustrating the types of conflicts many women face as Latino wives. This unique paradigm allows the reader to examine the events and characters using a feminist critical perspective....   [tags: Literature Analysis]

Strong Essays
823 words (2.4 pages)

Power and Privilege Displayed in A Woman on a Roof Essay

- Power and Privilege Displayed in A Woman on a Roof         In Doris Lessing’s "A Woman on a Roof," three workmen react differently towards a woman sunbathing on a roof. The men are Harry, who is in his mid-40s, Stanley, who is newly married, and Tom, who is 17. They are engaged in a jovial banter when they spot a woman about fifty yards from where they are standing. She’s on her back, face down on a brown blanket. Stanley is first to comment, "She’s stark naked." Harry agrees, "Looks like it," while Tom cranes his neck so he can see more and replies, "She thinks no one can see." Stanley whistles, but the woman does not look up....   [tags: Doris Lessing Woman on Roof Essays]

Strong Essays
1189 words (3.4 pages)

Women as Objects in A Woman on a Roof Essay

- Women as Objects in A Woman on a Roof         Doris Lessing’s "A Woman on a Roof" allows us to understand how some men view woman: as mere objects for display and possession. Lessing shows how each of the male characters reacts and deals with rejection from a woman sunbathing on a nearby rooftop. We discover how three men’s preoccupation with sex keeps them unaware of how their advances may be unwanted and ignorant of their action’s possible consequences. All three men share the desire to get this woman’s attention....   [tags: Doris Lessing Woman on Roof Essays]

Strong Essays
1171 words (3.3 pages)

A Feminist Reading of Paul's Case Essay

- A Feminist Reading of Paul's Case   At first glance, it may be considered difficult to give a feminist interpretation of "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather, because there is not much mention of women in the text. However, this fact alone gives good reason for a feminist reading of the story. The lack of the presence of females in this story supports the idea that women were not considered an important part of society during Willa Cather's lifetime. In "Paul's Case," the story revolves around a young male....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
1201 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about A Feminist Reading of Galatea 2.2

- A Feminist Reading of Galatea 2.2 There is one common thread linking all novels written by males; their female characters are always depicted as the stereotypical female: weak, indecisive and emotionally unstable. The feminist approach to analyzing literature provides an explanation for this phenomenon. In this patriarchal society, women are viewed as the weaker sex, inferior. This can be the result of socialization or some negative interactions with women in the past. Richard Powers employs this standard for female characters in his novel, Galatea 2.2, made evident through the application of the feminist approach and the dialogical method; however, its semi-autobiographical nature blurs t...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Feminist Reading of The Yellow Wallpaper

- A Feminist Reading of The Yellow Wallpaper        In the late nineteenth century, after the American social and economic shift commonly referred to as the "Industrial Revolution" had changed the very fabric of American society, increased attention was paid to the psychological disorders that apparently had steamed up out of the new smokestacks and skyscrapers in urban populations (Bauer, 131).  These disorders were presumed to have been born out of the exhaustion and "wear and tear" of industrial society (Bauer, 131-132).  An obvious effect of these new disorders was a slew of physicians and psychiatrists advocating one sort of cure or another, although the "rest cure" popularized by the...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
2018 words (5.8 pages)

Essay on A Feminist Reading of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

- A Feminist Reading of Buffy the Vampire Slayer        In numerous interviews, creator Joss Whedon has explained that the inspiration for Buffy the Vampire Slayer struck while he was watching horror films and TV shows in which pretty women run away from or get killed by monsters in alleyways. Whedon claims he wanted to give this paradigmatic girl-victim a new role: that of the monster-killing hero. Whedon's explanation of his own artistic inspiration reveals at least two things about him as a film-viewer and maker: first, his description suggests his awareness of the pervasive, archetypal quality of the traditional, mainstream horror film....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
2985 words (8.5 pages)

A Feminist Reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Essay

- Feminist Reading of Frankenstein When reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, one cannot help but notice that the women characters seem to have little substance compared to the male characters. This may have been caused by the time period in which she wrote: one in which females were considered inferior to males. This difference between the sexes can be looked at using a variety of different perspectives. Johanna M. Smith, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, discusses this issue using feminist eyes in her essay entitled "'Cooped up': Feminine Domesticity in Frankenstein." The main points in Professor Smith's essay are that the female characters are there only to reflect the...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Free Essays
591 words (1.7 pages)

A Feminist Reading of Updike's Rabbit, Run Essay

- A Feminist Reading of Rabbit, Run         I do not like Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. This creation of John Updike, this man who abandons his pregnant wife and young child, and his alliance to the late 1950's feeling of unrest and rebellion makes me angry. Many times throughout this novel my cheeks flushed furiously and I could not contain my exasperated sighs. When I read the last sentences of Rabbit, Run and closed the book, I was disappointed. It was not because Updike fails to make it clear where or to whom Rabbit runs (home to his wife....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
2338 words (6.7 pages)

Essay on Feminist Reading of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale

- A Feminist Reading of The Winter’s Tale       In the Shakespearean tragedies we have studied, we have been exposed to tragic male protagonists who create their own downfall. Within these tragedies, Shakespeare's female characters are vested with varying degrees of power in relation to the tragic heroes. In looking back at Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, The Winter's Tale can be seen as an extension of the exploration into the nature of women and power broached in his earlier tragedies, as well as an amendment for the misogynistic attitudes they contain....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
1444 words (4.1 pages)