Equality In An Unequal World . Charlotte Brontë’S Novel,

2024 WordsApr 18, 20179 Pages
Equality in an Unequal World Charlotte Brontë’s novel, “Shirley” was written in 1849. Although this novel is secondary in both quality and popularity, it addresses many social issues and dilemmas of Bronte’s time period, such as business, religion, and most importantly the gender inequality that females faced throughout the duration of the Victorian period. A majority of this story concerns two women, Shirley Keeldar who is the main character and Caroline Helstone, another very prominent character. These two women come from very diverse backgrounds and social standings and yet this is what leads them to deep conversations of the social issues of the 19th century. In Charlotte Brontë’s feministic piece, “Shirley,” the conversations between…show more content…
She is independent and has the economical ability and the social standing to live so, whereas Caroline is confined to dependency on her uncle. These two very different upbringings are expressed in how they live and view their lives as females, as shown through this short conversation that takes place on page 171, “‘Caroline,’ demanded Miss Keeldar abruptly, ‘don’t you wish you had a profession – a trade?’ ‘I wish it fifty times a day. As it is, I often wonder what I came into the world for. I long to have something absorbing and compulsory to fill my head and hands and occupy my thoughts.’ ‘ [….] But hard labour and learned professions, they say, make women masculine, coarse, unwomanly.’” (171). This conversation directly addresses how females felt and were perceived in the 19th century. It expresses how society viewed women who did have ambition and went after the profession in which they desired, as “masculine” and “coarse”. In order to pursue a career or perform a task that involved hard labor, women almost had to give up their femininity. This is continually shown throughout the novel that women are not seen for who they truly are but only for what men desire them to be and instead of pursuing careers and individual purposes, women sought to be married and to “whoo” a man. A second aspect that shows that this is a feministic novel is the main character Shirley herself. Many

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