The Evolution of the Role of Women in British and American Literature

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“Girls wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it is okay to be a boy; for a girl it is like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading” (McEwan 55-56). Throughout the history of literature women have been viewed as inferior to men, but as time has progressed the idealistic views of how women perceive themselves has changed. In earlier literature women took the role of being the “housewife” or the household caretaker for the family while the men provided for the family. Women were hardly mentioned in the workforce and always held a spot under their husband’s wing. Women were viewed as a calm and caring character in…show more content…
Considering the American novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is written by Zora Neale Hurston in 1937. In the novel Janie Crawford plays the main character and has a very subservient mind, but as the novel progresses, so does her attitude and views on self-worth and independence. Women’s freedom and lack of independence serves a big role in the novel. Many women are oppressed to the authority of men during the 1930’s. Janie’s childhood was shaped by her nanny, but as she grows to be a young woman she begins to realize that she craves independence and self-worth. Janie says “Why must Joe be so mad with her for making him look small when he did it to her all the time?” (Hurston 77), in this quote Janie is saying that she believes it is a double standard for men to always put women down and say that women are beneath men, but when a women does that to a man it is considered a horrible action. When men make horrible remarks to women, society does not react with the same reaction as they do with women, but if a woman was to insult a man, society will not tolerate that type of behavior. Janie is beginning to question why it is acceptable for a man to disrespect a woman in society, and she completely disagrees with the opinion of society. Another quote that supports Janie’s views is when she talks about her marital status by saying; She was borned in slavery time when folks, dat is black folks, didn't sit down anytime dey felt lak it. So sittin' on
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