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Inferiorety Of Women In Madam Bovary, The Stranger, And The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

1734 words - 7 pages

Throughout history and literature women have been second to men. In many of the books we have looked at in the duration of high school years even the most powerful and influential women are often seen under men. The women’s actions and thoughts are often looked down on by others despite the men having often performed worse actions than the they have. This drives across the idea of imbalance among the sexes and pushes the idea of women being inferior to men into the reader’s mind whether or not it is picked up. This theme comes up throughout each book either being more relevant throughout the entire storyline or simply in a brief moment. Each way it comes across it shows this idea of imbalance. Primarily through a feminist lense in Madame Bovary, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and The Stranger women are shown to be inferior to men through individual relationships and societies’ views on them.
In each storyline the women’s actions are viewed negatively by individuals or themselves based on how their society has showed them to think. In the first of the three books, Madame Bovary, Emma is ridiculed for her actions and shown to be a bad person from women’s view of her. In a society where women are expected to act properly, like Catherine Leroux who worked “fifty-four years of the same service” and only expect a “silver medal” under men, Emma’s actions are made out to seem unjustifiable (140). When Emma has spent all of her and Charles’ money she is trapped. She is stuck in a situation where she can search for help from someone to save her from the debt or tell Charles “it [was her] … who [ruined him]” through losing all of their belongings (Part 3, Chapter 7). When Emma searches only to help the cause by trying to keep their possessions she is mocked by the women of her town. They do not look at the trouble she is in, but rather they look how she handles it and scorn her with harsh comments saying that she “ought to be whipped” for what she is doing, as if her actions as a women should be punished (Part 3, Chapter 7). Emma’s actions as a women a viewed negatively by her peers directly to show that she is not acting as women are meant to. She is made out to be a bad person where in her position every normal person would act in similar ways. Society’s judgement on Emma pushes the image of the acspected role of women throughout the story.
Opposed to society’s view, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Tereza places the idea of unbalanced sexes through her own view of her actions. In Tereza’s and Tomas’ relationship there is a directly imbalance of power among the two. Tomas has many affairs with other women while together with Tereza despite saying he loves her and he is “genuinely incapable of abandoning his erotic friendships” (21). Tomas is essentially able to have freedom over his relationship with Tereza while she is bound to him alone. When Tereza later does have an affair with the engineer she holds more strongly to the idea that what she...

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