The Gentle Lena Essay

Decent Essays
Lena’s gentle, sweet, servant-like behavior was a commentary on the way on the way society saw and treated women in the early 20th century. Lena did not have an opinion of her own, she did not know how to make decisions on her own; she was told what to think, where to work, what to do with her money, her free time and her future; her life was designed by someone else because she was a women and unable to make decisions for herself. In the early 20th century society treated women as though they were not important, their duties were to have children, cook and clean for their husbands and much like children of this timeperiod, women were to be were to be seen but their voices not heard with regards to anything outside of the family. It…show more content…
Upon arrival in America Lena was made to work as a servant, while her Aunt searched for a good husband for her. There was not one moment where Lena questioned why: why did she have to leave Germany and go to America, why did she have to work as a servant, why did she have to go to her Aunt’s house every Sunday, why couldn’t she spend the money she worked hard to make, why did she have to get married when she enjoyed working as a servant for the family, why did she have to marry Herman Kreder when he obviously did not want to marry her. Lena was just expected, as women in that timeperiod were, to just submit to the whims of the dominent member of her family. Lena was so dutiful throughout the story, dutiful to the point where modern day readers may actually get frustrated or angry with this character.
Lena lived her life passively and took what came her way without complaint; the cook “who scolded Lena a great deal but Lena’s german patience held no suffering and the good incessant woman really only scolded for Lena’s good” (Stein 143). Her cousins (Mrs. Hoydon’s children) were mean, rude and ridiculed her horribly, and yet she continued to go to their home every other Sunday as required by Mrs. Hoydon “…but it never came to Lena’s unexpectant and unsuffering german nature to do something different from what was expected of her, just because she would like
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