FEMINIST CRITISM OF THE STONE CARVERS

FEMINIST CRITISM OF THE STONE CARVERS

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     The feminist approach of the Stone Carvers allows us to look at Klara’s role as a spinster in a new perspective. It allows us to analyze the role of a woman in the first half of the twentieth century.

     A woman’s role in the early twentieth century still revolved around serving the male members of one’s family. Klara was tied to the traditional role of a female. She would have chores as well as having to make supper for her father, grand father and sometimes Eamon. Klara was more independence than the average woman because she was taught two arts by two masters. She could tailor suits, and carve wood. She had two skills that were named to be man’s skills. Her knowledge gave her the power to control what happened in her life. Klara was respected in her town for her skills because they usually came to her to make suits. Eamon acknowledged her skill and asked her to make a red suit. Her knowledge of these skills gave her more independence, freedom and power. She was one of the few female members in her community who had their own income. She had freedom to do what she wanted with her life but she was still restricted by her society because she was still a woman.

Time plays a key part in the role of women. In the late nineteenth century, Klara’s grandmother was an excellent tailor. She tailored suits for all members of the community as well as for Father Gstir. She always referred to herself as a seamstress because she was a woman and at this time period a woman’s skilled was less valued than the skill of a man. The battle for equality between men and women is clearly depicted by Helga. Klara’s mother always stated that she was a tailor rather than a seamstress. She valued her skills greatly and taught Klara to be proud. Klara can carve and tailor, so she had more power than the generations of women before her time.

     Klara Becker’s role as a spinster in the novel gives her to have an advantage over other women. As a spinster, society allows her to be a bit eccentric. Taking over the farm after the death of her father and grandfather was considered eccentric for a spinster but madness if it was a widow. This shows that the place of the women in this society is not equal to that of a male.

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When Klara bought and bred a white bull as well as any man, sly rumors went around the community about Klara’s relationship with the white bull. She was not respected instead she was almost excluded from the community because she was able to be independent.

     There was no equality for men and women outside of Ontario either. This is seen when Klara has to dress as a man in order to travel to France and get a job. A woman would not be respected and she would be abused if she traveled by herself. This is because such women were considered to be prostitutes. A man could travel independently on the roads without having his character judged badly. Also when she is in France, the men who are working on the monument treat her as an equal when they believe that she is a man. When her true identity is uncovered, she had to move away from the common room and sleep elsewhere. This clearly proves that men and women were judged by different standards.

     Through these incidents in the novel, we are able to see the role of females in mid twentieth century.
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