A Shift in the Balance of Power Between the Generations and the Sexes Throughout Hobsons Choice
The stereotypical view of that period was that men had more power
compared to women. Whether it was a father or a husband they had a
more powerful status. The women were seen as the weaker sex and second
class citizens this is portrayed by Jim, " a woman's foolishness
begins where a mans leave's off."
Women had a very homely image also. Children of this period were to be
seen and not heard and faded into the background and were punished for
In 'Hobsons choice' the typical family power are carried out by Hobson
and other minor roles such as Jim who says, "its steel in a mans
character that subdues the women."
This is a sexist comment as Jim thinks of himself as a man of the
house and deals with a manly job as a greengrocer.
Hobson is a fifty-five year old man who owns a boot shop in Salford.
He has three daughters Maggie, Alice and Vickey. Hobson give his
orders and Alice and Vickey obey him because they do not know how to
win the argument with their father because they are not that well
educated. Whereas Maggie is clever, mature and gives orders to Hobson.
We think she comes across as a mother and wife in the house.
Maggie tells Hobson "don't be late" and he is not. She cooks cleans
and reminds others of times and dates.
Hobson does not think Maggie runs the house but we think that if
Maggie were not there Hobson would not cope.
Hobson thinks of Maggie as a "proper old maid." He thinks she is "too
useful to part with."
As for his other two daughters Alice and Vickey. Hobson thinks there
"pretty" but yet still "bumptious".
Alice and Vickey are easier for Hobson to control because they are not
very bright. They rely on their looks to get through life. Even though
they answer back to their father, this would be shown on stage as the
stage directions tell is Vickey "is anxious to resume her reading." It
shows she is not interested in her father and wants to carry on with
her own thing. This is unlike the stereotypical power in a 1880's
relationship. Hobson still has power over them. We think Alice and
Vickey are a hassle for Hobson and this is why he is marrying them off
against their will.
Alice and Vickey think of their father as bad tempered. But still try
to get round him but eventually give up, as they know he will never
back down. Whereas Maggie could argue with Hobson forever until he
would be stuck for words. On stage the audience would see this as the
stage directions as "he drives Alice and Vickey before him. They go
out protesting loudly. But Maggie stands in his way as he follows and
she closes the door. She looks at him from the stair." This shows a
power struggle between Hobson and Maggie. The audience would be able
to see the...