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Exploring Treatment Of Women In Nineteenth Century Through Literature

2959 words - 12 pages

Exploring Treatment of Women in Nineteenth Century through Literature

In the Nineteenth Century, women were treated very differently to the
way they are today. Modern day society relies on the basis that there
should be equality between men and women in all aspects of life and
there have been laws put in place such as the Sex Discrimination Act
to help reflect these policies. Authors who lived during the
Nineteenth Century wrote about how women were seen and treated in the
19th Century. The stories they wrote gave the impression of society
being dominated by males who believed that they were superior to
women. This type of society was called a patriarchal society.

The story 'Tony Kytes the Arch-Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy is a story in
which the issue of sex discrimination arises. It writes about Tony
Kytes, a young handsome man, who takes a trip into town and on the way
meets two of his sweethearts as well as his fiancé. Two of the women
he convinces to hide in his wagon as a favour because he has seen the
next sweetheart approaching. As the other women is the last to be
seen, she rides up front with Tony in his wagon. In the end, all three
women realise that Tony is showing affection to all of them at the
same time. In rage, the more independent women storm away after being
asked in turn to wed Tony. However, naïve Milly accepts his offer and
they marry soon after. This confusing story shows us how women were
perceived as mere 'prizes' or 'belongings' in the Nineteenth century
and were handled by men as they wished.

In those days, women were supposed to act in a certain way to
comprehend with the ways of society. In 'Tony Kytes and the
Arch-Deceiver', Tony asks his father for some advice on which women to
chose to be his wife. Naturally the father would want his son to chose
the best girl for his son. He decides that the right girl is
"whichever of 'em did not ask to ride" with Tony. Tony's father
belived that it was okay for men to be forward but it was not okay for
women to be forward. This shows that in the Nineteenth century women
were not supposed to expect or ask for things; they should get only
what men offer to them. They were supposed to be passive to what men
wanted and put their husband's needs before their own. In asking for a
lift, the woman was pushing for what she wanted and therefore not
being an ideal woman. Women were also expected to comply with what a
man wanted her to do, no matter how absurd the request, or they would
not be seen as a 'perfect women'. The women in 'Tony Kytes and the
Arch-Deceiver' went along with Tony's strange requests of hiding under
corn sacks- "I don't mind to oblige you Tony"- because as far as they
were concerned, they should please their man to any extent. This story
makes the reader believe that women in those times were expected...

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