Symbolism, Moral Ambiguity or Attitudes Toward Women in American Literature of the Period 1776-1860

Symbolism, Moral Ambiguity or Attitudes Toward Women in American Literature of the Period 1776-1860

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Symbolism, Moral Ambiguity or Attitudes Toward Women in American Literature of the Period 1776-1860

During this period, the attitude towards women gradually changed. For quite a long period of time, the important roles women played were ignored. In the society, they were viewed as the weaker gender. Women were easily related to the roles such as taking care of the family, childbearing and raising the children. It was considered as their natural job. As a result, morality was largely based along gender lines and responsibilities towards others instead of being focused on the culture of symbols, individual values and ideas. Materialism was largely used to construct gender aspects. Isecke (33) notes that materialism was largely relied on hence the overlooking of the important cultural system. As seen in my essay, the society contributed towards defying this norm through uplifting the state of woman, whereby she was viewed as an important figure in the society and who had equal rights as a man.
According to Buckley (35), a woman’s life was largely based on moral, sacred and the emotional spheres of life, which basically included religious ties and family affairs. During this period, an increase in women’s population in the church was noted. To some extent, their growing numbers in the church, even outnumbered those of men. The woman’s role was therefore viewed as that of spreading both moral and religious values. Through being involved in church activities, women could now feature in the public sphere of life. Women were also considered to be of very little value when it came to matters of the economy. It was believed that they would best serve as mother figures to their children. They were to serv...


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...re hence given a right to marry. When the revolution ended, a need to change child custody rights was felt. The courts were more than willing to let go of the initial laws that required men to take custody of their children in custody disputes.
With the new laws, women were granted the right to take care of young daughters, but not sons (Buckley 101). This act clearly indicated the moral influence that a woman had at home, while a man’s dominance was in the field of politics and in trading areas. There was a clear differentiation between gender-based ideologies. Isecke notes that Women largely applied the concept of moral motherhood so as to be granted social justice over the years that followed. This marked a new milestone in the way women were viewed in the society. More attention was paid to them and their influence towards the society was largely appreciated.

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