Essay Feminism in Literature

1552 Words7 Pages
Books, plays, and movies that depict culture and social life often make statements about social issues such as gender roles, racism, and class distinction. Stories set up a context in which characters relate, often representing “stock” characters chosen from society and placed in situations where their stereotypical behaviors—and sometimes their breaking of these stereotypes—are highlighted. As feminism became a popular movement in Western countries in general and the United States in particular, female voices were naturally heard through fictional characters. Social and political issues commonly fuel entertainment; feminism, racism, and classism—recurring themes in entertainment through the 20th Century and into the modern day—have…show more content…
As the typical Southern Belle, Scarlett O’Hara enjoys the privileges of a well-to-do Southern woman, living a plantation life in the slave-owning South. She is not a champion of social change outright. Her fiery personality is not necessarily a virtue; though her “unladylike” behavior becomes a kind of feminist rebellion against when coupled with circumstances that cast her from a life of privilege to experiences of bitter responsibility and loss, her initial desires as a woman certainly represent superficial interests as a society girl in a society shaped around society; when she is widowed, her concerns are less for the death of her husband than for the damper that requisite public mourning placed on her social life. Scarlett’s “strength” also derives from self-interest; though her character may be endearing, her personality is distasteful. Despite all of this, and despite the fact that Scarlett O’Hara continues to make mistakes, her strong will and ability to rise to life’s challenges endear her and make her an example of an imperfect—utterly human—strong woman. Whereas Scarlett O’Hara’s flaws revolve around immaturity and self-interest in terms of life position and are ultimately outweighed by her actions, Flannery O’Connor’s Mrs. Turpin displays human flaws that make the reader question humanity in general. Mrs. Turpin goes beyond the stereotype of
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