Women in society sometimes are subject to objectification, meaning they are treated as a mere object; unequal to men. In the novel, The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, this holds true, except, women are said to be equal to men, but are not treated in this exact manner. Lily is apart of the upper class society of New York and attends parties, gambles all her money, and throughout the whole book tries to marry a rich man. Wharton’s feminism is apparent in the way she treats Lily; Lily gets through society, merely by keeping up her appearances. Beauty and appearance are everything in this society, if you are beautiful you will get far in society, however, the only thing Lily is lacking is wealth. In the novel, feminism is present with the idea of appearances and the symbol of money is used to convey that men are needed to control a women’s social stability.
At the turn of the 20th century, the social and economic climate of urban America saw a boom in industry and productivity. Within this microcosm of economic prosperity, social elites participated in a constant exchange of opportunities, ideas, and social exploitations. In Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, the atmosphere of high society deeply emulates the atmosphere of the market itself. Wharton utilizes economic terminology and vocabulary in this novel to establish the principles of courtship in post-Victorian society. In this society, women, marriage, and social favors serve as commodities which are traded back and forth between the masters of both the monetary and social economies.
Jane Austen’s novel 'Emma' and Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, as significant and satirical reflections of Regency England and postmodern America respectively, indicate how the transformation process can shape and improve literacy, intertextual and logical importance. The transformation is evident in the compositions Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ and Amy Heckerling’s ‘Clueless’ enabling us to investigate the assortment of logical subjects. Regarding ‘Emma’ the perspective throughout the Regency time frame examines the strict values of love and marriage inside the inflexible social hierarchy. Austen’s advances the significance of etiquette throughout the text. Austen reveals a neo-women’s activist perspective, shown in the female protagonist revealing the female protagonists’ scholarly capacity and social equity in an otherwise patriarchal society. However, the close resemblance of the story; ‘Clueless’, Heckerling composition conveys entirely transformed values, reflected through the actions of the current upper-working class of contemporary Los Angeles. The critical analysis of commercialism in the informal social class system of modern America reiterating social expectations of gender and social characterisation within the microcosm of the typical American educational system. The transformation in attitudes of Austen, reveals an exhaustive utilisation of setting, a close examination of dialect and various artistic procedure.
The balance of power has been one of mankind’s most prominent and fought-over issues, particularly among the two sexes. Men are biologically predisposed to be more powerful, and humans have historically associated a male’s physical strength with authority. At the same time, women have been conditioned to yield to a man’s power, and have been taught that men are meant to hold economic, societal, and domestic control, as displayed by New York’s high-society in Edith Wharton’s timeless novel The Age of Innocence. Yet, power is an unquantifiable, metaphysical idea completely unrelated to one’s gender. Power is held in the eye of the beholder, and over time, women have used this idea to manipulate and control men without them even knowing. In doing so, women have been creating their own power for centuries, though society does not recognize it nor give them credit for having as much control as they do. Despite its setting in a patriarchal 19th century society, Wharton manages to defy even modern gender roles by contrasting the influence of resolute Ellen Olenska—a presumably promiscuous noblewoman—with lawyer Newland Archer’s submissiveness so as to suggest that women truly hold power over men during this time.
In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton portrays gender through the juxtaposition of Ellen and May. May is the type of woman who personifies innocence. She always keeps up with her appearance and personality even when she
Born in 1862, Edith Wharton Newbold Jones was brought up within the graceful, wealthy yet conservative, confining circle of New York society, which fostered sexual repression and prided itself on the innocence of its young girls. Edith Wharton herself was discouraged from expressing her emotions or developing her intellect which was supposed to be very unbecoming traits in a woman. This is the reason why she stressed in her fiction the need of growth, and has shown how painful and frustrating this process can be for a woman. This process of growth and development is revealed in her major works, Ethan Frome (1911), and Summer (1917) (Balakrishnan 1).
Throughout literature women are often displayed as idealized characters. Women in the eyes of society are plagued with the stereotype of being kind, nurturing, and tender individuals while men are established as ambitious, assertive, and tough. However, when the time comes for women to possess the qualities of men and men of women, a turnaround of events can occur. Women were the individuals that then shape the males into their ending personna. Shakespeare's Macbeth, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby demonstrated the reversal of gender roles through portraying women as the instigator of the male character’s ultimate demise.
Two-hundred years is a sizeable gap of time that allows plenty of room for change. American society had been rapidly changing from the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century, but despite this, the roles and rights of women have remained locked in place. There were many factors to consider as to why women were not allowed to flourish in their time and exceed these boundaries, and while some accepted it, there were many that opposed and faced these difficulties head on. Two female authors, one from colonial times, and one from nineteenth century America, have written about the obstacles and misogyny they’ve overcome in a male dominated literary career. Despite the two-hundred-year gap between the lives of Margaret Fuller and Anne Bradstreet, they both face issues regarding the static stereotype that women are literarily inferior and subservient handmaids to men.
Through choice of detail and diction, Edith Wharton justifies Frome’s adultery by juxtaposing the warm, charismatic nature of Mattie to the cold, barren one of Zeena. While his wife speaks in a “monotonous” (129) “flat whine” (32) her cousin’s “suffuse[s] him with joy” (44). Despite the fact that both women are frail and sickly, Zeena’s “puckered throat” and “protruding wrists” (47) disgusts Ethan, while Mattie is so “small and weak-looking that…it wr[i]ng[s] his heart” (106). Throughout the novel, Wharton’s choice of detail drastically contrasts the two women, one a vivacious, vigorous beauty, the other a walking, whining corpse. From their physical looks alone, Zeena is hard to love—sterile and dark—while Mattie—fertile and warm—is easy to. The author intentionally feeds this bias, allowing the readers to feel the same temptation that Frome has in the novel. However, he
Anderson’s assessment stems from the fact that men found obedience to be a desirable female quality during the eighteenth century. Moreover, according to feminists, society during that time was designed for the pleasure and benefit of men alone. While Feminist criticism works well with Charlotte Temple, it is evident that another concept also deserves attention. Although the majority of novel seems to focus on women, chapters two through five connect almost exclusively to economics. The significance of economics and social class in these opening chapters implies that Charlotte is not only victimized due to her gender, but also due to her class. During the first few chapters, the importance of money and gender are revealed. Mr. Lewis exploits and then proceeds to blackmails Mr. Eldridge for money, thus sending him into financial tragedy. This short background story sets up the theme of class struggle for the novel.
Sexuality has an inherent connection to human nature. Yet, even in regards to something so natural, societies throughout times have imposed expectations and gender roles upon it. Ultimately, these come to oppress women, and confine them within the limits that the world has set for them. However, society is constantly evolving, and within the past 200 years, the role of women has changed. These changes in society can be seen within the intricacies of literature in each era. Specifically, through analyzing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, one can observe the dynamics of society in regards to the role of women through the lens of the theme of sexuality. In both novels, the confinement and oppression of women can be visibly seen as a result of these gender roles. Yet, from the time The Scarlet Letter was published to the time The Bell Jar was written, the place of women in society ultimately changed as well. Hence when evaluating the gender roles that are derived from sexuality, the difference between the portrayals of women’s oppression in each novel becomes apparent, and shows how the subjugation of women has evolved. The guiding question of this investigation is to what extent does the theme of sexuality reflect the expectations for women in society at the time each novel was written. The essay will explore how the literary elements that form each novel demonstrate each author’s independent vision which questions the
To illustrate the nature in which New York applies these silences, Wharton introduces a female character that symbolizes all the ideas and innovations that New York feared most.
Newland declares to the table that women have the right to be “as free as [men] are” (Age of Innocence 38). As the women talk further about Ellen, Newland states that he is sick of the “hypocrisy that would bury a woman” for preferring to be with her husband, contrary to what others believe (Age of Innocence 37). Newland sees a small connection between the women’s opinions and his own relationship with Ellen. He begins to see he must make a choice between Ellen and May, unbeknownst to him that his choice will be what is “socially acceptable” to old New York (“Edith Wharton” 2). Newland then decided that May should have the same “freedom of experience” he has (Age of Innocence 42).
In Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, she presents us the real New York City in late nineteenth century. Due to the rapid development of industry, the wealth gap got wider and wider. Money functions extremely important in people’s social lives. People from upper class can purchase anything they want: luxury goods, artworks, even women. As the main part of consumption, women’s consumption reflects the gender relation in American society during this time period. The protagonist Lily Bart is a representative of females in 19th century. She was born in a rich family. However later she can only marry the rich from upper class, by her perfect appearance, in order to continue her luxuries life. Things do not turn out as her wishes, her marriage doesn’t go well. Lily is just viewed as a beautiful decoration of upper class which can be taken advantage of. Women are tempted by money and controlled by vanity. They consume on the basis of men’s standards. They are more like men’s accessories. Ultimately they become goals of men’s sexual desire and victims of the society. Gender relation is clearly established in this book.
The Age of Innocence, written by Edith Wharton, is about the upper-class society of New York City in the 1870’s. The novel follows the life of an upper-class lawyer named Newland Archer. He is going to wed May Welland, who comes from another upper-class family. As the novel progresses Newland starts to become intrigued with May’s cousin, the poor Ellen Olenska. Ellen is called “poor” because she is shameful in the eyes of the society that surrounds her. Ellen left her husband and moved back to New York City to be with her family. Divorce is not acceptable in the 1870’s high society like it is today. Newland tries at first to protect Ellen from the bad reputation that she will perceive if she divorces