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The Evolution Of The Role Of Women In British And American Literature

2343 words - 10 pages

“Girls wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it is okay to be a boy; for a girl it is like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading” (McEwan 55-56). Throughout the history of literature women have been viewed as inferior to men, but as time has progressed the idealistic views of how women perceive themselves has changed. In earlier literature women took the role of being the “housewife” or the household caretaker for the family while the men provided for the family. Women were hardly mentioned in the workforce and always held a spot under their husband’s wing. Women were viewed as a calm and caring character in many stories, poems, and novels in the early time period of literature. During the early time period of literature, women who opposed the common role were often times put to shame or viewed as rebels. As literature progresses through the decades and centuries, very little, but noticeable change begins to appear in perspective to the common role of women. Women were more often seen as a main character in a story setting as the literary period advanced. Around the nineteenth century women were beginning to break away from the social norms of society. Society had created a subservient role for women, which did not allow women to stand up for what they believe in. As the role of women in literature evolves, so does their views on the workforce environment and their own independence. Throughout the history of the world, British, and American literature, women have evolved to become more independent, self-reliant, and have learned to emphasize their self-worth.
To begin with American Literature shows an emphasis on how women were portrayed differently from men. Women begin to show a desire to be equal as the time went by. The Great Gatsby is an example of American literature dealing with the evolving movement of women. It was written in 1925 and it is describing the circumstances of the roaring twenties. In the novel, Daisy is one of the main characters, whose life revolves around a man for emotional and financial stability. An example of Daisy’s meek and subservient behavior is when she says “I hope she’ll be a fool, That is the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 7). In the quote, Daisy is referring to her newborn daughter and she is describing her views on the sentiment she feels for bringing a girl into the world, because girls face more obstacles in society than boys do. Daisy speaks from her own experience because throughout her life she has not endured her self-worth and independence in fear of being left alone. Daisy says “the best thing a girl can be in this world is a fool” because if she is a fool, then every obstacle she will face will be less painful. The novel also depicts how males overpower women and have great dominance over them. An example of male dominance...

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