Problems Women Faced During the Early 1900's

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As history continues to form, it is easy to forget the struggles women have faced. In the early 1900’s a new generation of women began to flourish. Issues such as women’s suffrage, women in the work force, and hope of equality began to rise and mingle in the air overpowered by men. Women started exploring their role in society as beneficial contributors. They began to speak their minds, many finding their voice amongst literature. Willa Cather was amongst one of the many flourishing women authors. Born in 1873 Cather grew up just in time to immerse her soul in writing. Her writing eloquently captivated the changing society, in which she was living. Cather went on to write several novels, and in 1923 she wrote, A Lost Lady, casting an idolized women as the main character, Marina Forrester. The relationships between Marian Forrester and dominant male characters in Willa Cather’s novel, A Lost Lady, demonstrates the strong influential hold men had on women during early 1900’s. First off, the relationship between Marian Forrester and dominant male characters demonstrates how men influenced a women’s image during the early 1900’s. The Women’s International Center presents, “Women’s History in America”, an article describing how men viewed women in the early 1900’s explaining, “before having children, a woman's role was to become a ‘good wife’’’ (“Women's History in America”). The societal expectation of women was to be the “perfect” housewife. Women aspired to fulfill the role of a housewife, and men looked for a housewife in a potential spouse. In Cather’s novel Mrs. Forrester’s relationship with Mr. Forrester depicts her as the model wife. Cather writes that men “…could not imagine [Mrs.Forrester] in any dress or situation in which... ... middle of paper ... strives to be the ideal wife she is expected to be. Men in the early 1900’s also influenced a woman’s financial status. Women in the early 1900’s did not have their own financial independence. Mrs. Forrester is seen displaying luxurious jewelry all from her husband, but once he dies her financial situation plummets, further emphasizing the negative effects that the lose of a male figure has on a woman financial situation. Overall the male relationships Mrs. Forrester has in, A Lost Lady, portrays the strong influential hold men had on women in the early 1900’s. Work Cited Gerber, Philip L. Willa Cather. Boston, MA: Twayne, 1975. Print. Murphy, John J. Critical Essays on Willa Cather. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1984. Print. "WIC - Women's History in America." WIC - Women's History in America. Women's International Center, 1995. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

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