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Modern American Woman Essay

1281 words - 5 pages

What is a modern American woman? Begin your discussion by stating at least four characteristics of a modern American woman. please define each characteristic and provide examples of women who we have studied who either meet or fail to meet your definition of each characteristic. we have studied the characters of Lysistrata in Lysistrata, Nora Helmer in A Doll's House, Louise Mallard in "The Story of an Hour," and Frances in "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses."Modern American WomanSociologists, psychologists, feminists, and other scholars in this line of society have incessantly asked the question, "What exactly is a modern woman?" The interest is to find out whether the modern American woman is the same as the American woman of the past decades. This is because as a society progresses and develops, the roles those women play, their relationships with men and their positions in society changes. These changes are reflected in the characteristics of women. It is only through the study of their characteristics, that a conceptualization of the American woman can be achieved; therefore, a modern American woman can be assertive, strong, daring and independent.One of the characteristics of a modern American woman is assertiveness. This is the ability of a person to communicate his or her opinion in the face of opposition. This is an attribute that is taught by personal development therapists together with their psychotherapist counterparts. It is inextricably linked to the person's self-esteem and is the subject of various self-help materials. It is also considered to be one of the most important skills as far as communication is concerned. There is a need to make a distinction between assertiveness, aggressiveness and passivity. The yardstick used to measure or set apart these three attributes is the way that the people deal with their personal boundary and that of others. Passive individuals lack the ability to defend his or her boundary. As such, aggressive individuals attack them. On the other hand, the assertive person can defend effectively his or her boundaries and will not encroach on that of others.Nora Helmer, a character in A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, lacks this very important trait of a modern American woman. She allows her husband, Torvald, to control and manipulate her. Nora is aware of the fact that her husband loves her because of her good looks, and once she loses these looks, her husband is going to abandon her. However, despite this knowledge, she does not take any action. She does what her husband asks her to do, and she likes to be a good housewife, "to have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald wants it." In fact, she can only be discussed as being passive, for she allows her husband, together with her father, to encroach on her personal space, and she is unable or unwilling to defend herself. This is well captured when she tells Torvald, in Act Three, how he and her father have done her a great wrong. Nora in the first...

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