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A Woman’s Role In A Patriarchal Society

1322 words - 5 pages

At the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries, a series of events occurred that would be known as the feminist movement. During this time, many woman were starting to change the way they thought of themselves and wanted to change their social roles. In his views on feminist analysis Donald Hall says, “Feminist methodologies focus on gender…and explore the complex ways in which women have been denied social power and the right to various forms of self-expression the many perspectives that fall under the heading ‘feminism’ vary wildly”(Hall 199). Since women were denied social power and self-expression, they went against what society saw as acceptable, a patriarchal world. In the stories The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, “Story of an Hour” also by Chopin, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman we see just how woman’s expected gender roles affect these woman. In The Awakening we meet Edna Pontellier who struggles with her social and gender role. In “Story of an Hour” we see a woman who is glad she is free from her husband. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” a woman fights for her happiness. Through the author’s portrayal of these characters, we see how feminism affects the actions of the characters and how the woman change.
Women for many years have been denied the right to express themselves. If a female spoke against something she was considered strange and out of line. Hall says, “Feminist methodologies is the belief that patriarchal oppression of women… has been profound and multifaceted” (Hall 202). Patriarchal oppression has been let happen because women had the
“reproductive capacity” that led to a domestic role, smaller physical size which led men to dominate them, and religious beliefs that the male having power was natural. In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, our protagonist wants to express herself by writing but her husband, John, says no. He is convinced she has a “nervous condition.” This was very common in the 1890’s but the truth was these women were just stressed because of the lives they lived with their husbands. John doesn’t let her write she tells us, “There comes John, and I must put this away, - he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman 769). She is going against her husband’s wishes. That was not common at that time. She hides her writing from her husband’s cousin as well. She does this out of fear. Not all woman thought feminism was ok. Many thought these rebellious woman were crazy and should stick to their traditional roles. That doesn’t stop feminist. Another way females weren’t allowed to express themselves was by not letting them do art. In The Awakening Edna Pontellier is finding who she wants to be. She wants to paint art. When she tells her husband she wants to paint he is fed up with her and tells her, “then in God’s name paint! But don’t let the family go to hell” (The Awakening 62). Edna will do what she truly wants to do. What he means by the family going to...

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