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Feminism Reflected in Literature

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Blake Wickham

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of Feminism Reflected in Literature

Feminism Reflected in Literature
By Blake, Zoom, Patrick, Josh and Jared

What is the Feminist Movement of Literature?
According to the website Tales of the Pack, the definition of feminist literature is as follows.
"Feminist literature, then, is having characters that have the will and the ability to choose. They are the mistresses of their own destinies. They make their choices and play their hands. They tell their own stories engaging us, the readers, in their extraordinary journeys."
Basically, the female characters of feminist literature are strong, independent women, who can make their own choices in life and defy common misogynist stereotypes.
Famous Feminist Works
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - This book centers on Jane Eyre, a young orphaned woman, and her journey through mid 1800s England. This book is considered a feminist work because a major theme is gender relations as Jane tries to form her own identity in the male dominated society.
Famous Feminist Works
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice focuses on four daughters of a wealthy man who need to be married off and start families. The feminist tie-in is the societal pressure to get married, fulfilling the role of women in society during the time the book was published. The conflict is Elizabeth's choice to defy her family and live the life she wants to live.
Feminist Ideals in The Awakening
Page 66- "Has she," asked the Doctor, with a smile, "has she been associating of late with a circle of pseudo-intellectual women--super-spiritual superior beings? My wife has been telling me about them."
The doctor's comment jokingly reiterates the fear men had during the time period about women being self righteous and independent.
Feminist Ideals in The Awakening
Page 108- "You have been a very, very foolish boy, wasting your time dreaming of impossible things when you speak of Mr. Pontellier setting me free! I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier's possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose. If he were to say, 'Here, Robert, take her and be happy; she is yours,' I should laugh at you both."
This quote of Edna's explains how she refuses to be seen as a possession. It shows her as an independent woman with her own rights and feelings.
Feminist Ideals in The Awakening
Page 27- "A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before."
This shows Edna's sense of self reliance. She wants to break the status quo and swim far off. This passage also functions as a double meaning. It also refers to the things she is going to do later in the book like cheating, which was practically unheard of for women in the time period.
Feminist Ideals in The Awakening
Page 8- "In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshiped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.
Edna does not want to fit into society because she rebels against the roles women of the time period were expected to fill. She is not a "mother woman", she is independent and puts herself before her family.
Feminist Ideals in The Awakening
Page 66- "Pontellier," said the Doctor, after a moment's reflection, "let your wife alone for a while. Don't bother her, and don't let her bother you. Woman, my dear friend, is a very peculiar and delicate organism—a sensitive and highly organized woman, such as I know Mrs. Pontellier to be, is especially peculiar. It would require an inspired psychologist to deal successfully with them. And when ordinary fellows like you and me attempt to cope with their idiosyncrasies the result is bungling. Most women are moody and whimsical. This is some passing whim of your wife, due to some cause or causes which you and I needn't try to fathom. But it will pass happily over, especially if you let her alone. Send her around to see me."
This passage shows the stereotypes that women have. The men claim women are confusing and extremely complicated and use broad generalizations about certain emotions they have. Part of the feminist movement is to expel these stereotypes and improve the image of women as independent and not reliant on men.
In conclusion, the feminist movement in literature demonstrates the struggles and trials that women encountered during the time period. In the quest for equality, women found these books, stories, and poems as a source of inspiration that helped them receive the rights they deserved.
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