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Tess Of The Durbervilles And Chocolat

1258 words - 5 pages

The hypocritical and paradoxical standards and values of contexts dictated by Patriarchal societies often condemn women. As shown in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Lasse Hallström's 2000film, Chocolate, these texts act as prime example of challenges faced by women in accordance with the changes, social values and dominant attitudes in their respective time eras. The 19th century paradigms challenged and reflected include the role of women in society in accordance with the patriarchal world and their social levels. This notion is also emphasised in the 20th century time setting of the film.The socio-economic circumstances surrounding a woman determined her level of rights in a patriarchal society as money ultimately equated with power. This notion was prevalent during the 19th century however Tess of the D'Urbervilles presents a stark contrast with this idea. The protagonist Tess is of the lower-working class yet she is also a "lineal descendent of the knightly family of the D'Urbervilles". The importance placed on social ranking class in England also forces Tess to seek from help from Alec D'Urberville and ultimately brings about her downfall. Alec's addressing of Tess as "my beauty" confirms his sexual nature and the seduction of Tess by him causes Hardy to exclaim, "Why was it that upon this beautiful feminine tissue...there should have been traced such a coarse pattern" Hardy's authorial intrusion forces us to question whether Tess would've incurred this if class hadn't been given such an eminent role in 19th century England. Tess is a victim of this patriarchal society purely through her lack of her power. Thus through socio-economic standings, it is evident that the prejudice towards women of the lower class and bias towards women of the Upper class in inegalitarian societies is directly correlated with the power these two classes hold.In Chocolat, Vianne represents the changing role of women within a male dominated society. Possessing an education and a stable job that other citizens lack, Vianne does not fit into the folk culture of the conforming society of the village. At that time, Hallström uses the setting of the film, a secluded country village in order to convey the conservative view of the general population post world war. Women were ultimately, expected to maintain the family, be submissive and keep events which occurred in their own house, a secret. This secretive notion however is defied by Josephine's action of escaping from her family and seeking shelter at Vianne's chocolaterie. Thus Josephine is viewed not only as a non-conformist but labelled a bad wife as she did not as the opening narration described, "know her place". Similarly, with domestic ideals of women becoming less rigid, many women entered the work-place and became increasingly independent, Hallström's portrayal of the protagonist Vianne Rocher as an independent woman who withstands pressures of society draws many parallels with...

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