Feminism In Feminism

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Throughout history, and even in literature, women have never been equal to men. For centuries, women have tried to advocate for their own rights, but have never truly gained enough momentum to achieve individuality. However, beginning around 1850, women avidly fought for political and social equality, and they even echoed these radical ideas throughout various literary works. The literary world became encapsulated in the movement as ideas echoing the approval of universal women’s suffrage swept through England and North America rapidly, and women gained more rights including those that allowed them to vote. Various female authors such as Sarah Orne Jewett, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Kate Chopin, became household names, as they were part of a new genre of literature known as feminist literature which not only emphasized the idea of women’s rights, but allowed, for the first time, for women in literature to have freedoms and individuality, which only allowed the suffrage movement to gain more momentum. One of the first popular feminist literature pieces, titled “The White Heron”, was published in 1886 by author Sarah Orne Jewett. In this story, Jewett emphasizes, through the protagonist Sylvie, the freedoms and individuality that women gain when they are not controlled by men. Sylvie is a young girl who lives in a secluded forest with her grandma, when, one day, an older man shows up with a gun, asking if the two know anything about a white heron. Sylvie becomes curious, and eager to please and earn the approval the man, escapes her house in the morning dawn to find the heron. Once in the forest, Sylvie decides the climb the tallest tree in the forest, and once she reaches the top, she finds not only the heron but herself. Sylvie reaches a point of self-awakening where she realizes that her childhood and freedoms would be gone if she were to reveal the location of the heron to the man with the gun, as he symbolizes the oppression of women. When standing on a branch at the top of the pine tree, she is able to see the sea and the ships in the harbor in the distance, and realizes that there is a world that exists to explore outside her own, and that revealing the location of the heron to the man would mean

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