Role Of Women And Motherhood Through Modern Literature

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The Role of Women and Motherhood through Modern Literature

Gertrude Stein’s story The Gentle Lena in Three Lives reaffirms the expectations of women set out by society, yet the main character Lena challenges the role of women in the workforce, marriage, and motherhood. Lena’s gentle, sweet, patient and servant-like behavior affirms the way society saw women. Women had no voice as to what to expect from their lives and for many their greatest aspiration was to be a mother. Lena’s life just like the lives of many other women were designed and controlled by someone else and thus many women live in a bubble when it came to the aspects of their lives. In early 20th century society, women were seen and not heard. Their lives revolved around their father and later on their husbands. A woman’s main duties included cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the children. Lena’s attitude can be best described as passive and gentle. Lena is also best described as a dreamer who has lost touched with reality, “she was always sort of dreamy and not there” (Stein 146). This passive attitude would inhibit Lena from ever being truly happy. Lena begins her life as very unimportant “she was not an important daughter in the family” her passive aggressive attitude makes her the perfect candidate for her controlling aunt to create a new life for her (Stein 146). Lena seems to understand what is happening in her life but she doesn’t know how to feel about it or what action she should take towards

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